Slightly Scarlet (1956)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Ben Grace
as June Lyons
as Dorothy Lyons
as Sol Caspar
as Frank Jansen
as Dave Dietz
as Norman Marlowe
Critic Reviews for Slightly Scarlet
Audience Reviews for Slightly Scarlet
Much of this is ho-hum, but the melodrama between the two redheads sometimes reaches heights of glorious hysteria.
Hard to believe this comes from a James M. Cain novel. Not much trace of Double Indemnity or Postman Always Rings Twice here. More melodrama than noir, and too trashy to be good melodrama. The last half hour does have some camp appeal, but the first hour is a boring mess. Plodding storyline, characters acting inconsistently, a couple of ridiculous turns (really, the governor has an interest in this shoplifting case?), lousy score. The good sister/bad sister angle isn't exploited nearly as well as it could be, at least not until the third act, and even then it doesn't hold a candle to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. It should also be noted that as amazing as John Alton is in black and white, he seems lost when it comes to Technicolor. There appears to be little thought put into the color scheme, besides the red hair. In fact, the most striking visual element would be equally effective (if not more so) in monochrome: the reversal of the black & white dresses on the sisters between the beginning and the end of the movie. John Payne, Rhonda Fleming and Ted DeCorsia all turn in very standard performances, only Arlene Dahl stands out as the kleptomaniac (and part nymphomaniac) bad girl, particularly in her final manic descent. It's not enough to salvage the film that much, though.
Florid potboiler in lurid technicolor. The girls look amazing and are dressed in beautiful dresses that it's somewhat hard to believe Rhonda could afford on her salary as a secretary but then her house is palatial and she has a live in maid so perhaps reality wasn't what they were going for. Arlene Dahl takes her part as a worthless tramp and runs with it. A fun ride if you're a fan of high gloss melodrama.
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