The Woman in the Window (1944)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Edward G. Robinson stars as a happily married psychology professor whose wife and child are away on summer vacation. After discussing with his friends the likelihood that any man can be driven to murder, Robinson strolls by a shop window, where stands a full-length portrait of a beautiful woman. He turns to find the selfsame woman (Joan Bennett) standing beside him...and before the night is over, he has killed the woman's lover in self-defense. Thus begins weaving an increasing tangled web involving Robinson, the woman, and a seedy blackmailer (Dan Duryea). Based on J.H. Wallis' novel Once Off Guard, The Woman in the Window gives us our money's worth with not one but two logical and satisfying surprise twists at the end.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
International Pictures

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Cast

Edward G. Robinson
as Prof. Richard Wanley
Joan Bennett
as Alice Reed
Raymond Massey
as D.A. Frank Lalor
Edmund Breon
as Dr. Michael Barkstone
Dan Duryea
as Heidt/Tim the Doorman
Thomas E. Jackson
as Inspector Jackson
Arthur Loft
as Claude Mazard/Frank Howard
Dorothy Peterson
as Mrs. Wanley
Frank Dawson
as Collins, the Steward
Carol Cameron
as Elsie Wanley
Robert Blake
as Dickie Wanley
Frank Melton
as Man in Front of Art Gallery
Don Brodie
as Man in Front of Art Gallery
Alec Craig
as Garageman
Ralph Dunn
as Traffic Cop
Frank Mills
as Garage Helper
Lane Watson
as Man by Taxi
James Beasley
as Man in Taxi
Joe Devlin
as Toll Collector Sergeant
Fred Graham
as Motorcycle Cop
Tom Hanlon
as Radio Announcer
Thomas P. Dillon
as Officer Flynn
Calvin Emery
as Newsreel Cameraman
Harry Hayden
as Druggist
Arthur Space
as Capt. Kennedy
Harold McNulty
as Elevator Operator
Joel McGinnis
as Elevator Operator
Donald Kerr
as Elevator Operator
Frank McClure
as Elevator Operator
Anne O'Neal
as Woman at Elevator
Freddie Chapman
as Child at Elevator
Eddy Chandler
as Police Driver
Tom Dillon
as Officer Flynn
Iris Adrian
as Streetwalker
Ruth Valmy
as Magazine Model
Hal Craig
as News Vendor
Fred Rapport
as Club Manager
Alex Pollard
as William, the Head Waiter
James Harrison
as Steward
Jack Gargan
as Steward
Lawrence Lathrop
as Page Boy
Bill Dyer
as Page Boy
Brandon Beach
as Club Member
Austin Bedell
as Club Member
Al Bensalt
as Club Member
Paul Bradley
as Club Member
James Carlisle
as Club Member
William Holmes
as Club Member
Fred Hueston
as Club Member
Sheldon Jett
as Club Member
J.W. Johnston
as Club Member
Charles Meakin
as Club Member
Harold Minjir
as Club Member
Ralph Norwood
as Club Member
Wedgewood Nowell
as Club Member
Louis Payne
as Club Member
David Pepper
as Club Member
Roy Saeger
as Club Member
Scott Seaton
as Club Member
Wyndham Standing
as Club Member
Larry Steers
as Club Member
Bess Flowers
as Bar Extra
Anne Loos
as Stenographer
Frances Morris
as Stenographer
Thomas Jackson
as Inspector Jackson
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Woman in the Window

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5)

A clockwork noir of diabolical determinism.

Full Review… | October 15, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

A strong and decidedly suspenseful murder melodrama.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Variety
Top Critic

The Woman in the Window is a humdinger of a mystery melodrama.

Full Review… | October 15, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

It's not merely a dazzling piece of suspense, but also a characteristically stark demonstration of Lang's belief in the inevitability of fate.

Full Review… | October 15, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A masterful film noir from Fritz Lang's rich American period.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Woman in the Window is a thriller in the new tradition of Double Indemnity and Laura. It fails to reach the standard of either because it lacks the courage of its murderous conclusions to an extent only fully revealed by a disappointing ending.

Full Review… | November 30, 2015
The Spectator

Audience Reviews for The Woman in the Window

½

Fritz Lang's "The Woman in the Window" is a reasonably good but second-rate film noir, starring Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett. It's hard to believe that the same man directed this and 1927's "Metropolis." "The Woman in the Window" isn't terrible, but it almost completely lacks ingenuity. The cinematography is uninteresting, the sets and costumes run-of-the-mill, and the story rather thin. But it does hold one's interest, and there are moments of real tension. Robinson plays a college professor who specializes in criminal psychology. He gets wrapped up in a murder with a woman (Bennett) he meets on the street late at night. It is fun to watch them try to cover it up. But the twists and turns are pretty much what you'd expect from a B picture. There's also a tremendously lame twist ending built to make the film palatable to a Disney audience. I suppose Lang was pushed by the studio to end it this way. But it's still lame of Lang to have given in. He should have pushed back harder. It seems clear that in this period Lang cared more about earning his salary than making true cinema. From world-famous artist to studio hack in 20 years. What a disappointment. Lang was an Austrian Jew who fled the Nazis and ended up in Hollywood. Another Austrian Jew who did the same was Billy Wilder. While Lang's creative period was over, Wilder's was just beginning. By coincidence, Wilder also directed a film noir in 1944: "Double Indemnity," starring Barbara Stanwyck. If you want to see first-rate film noir, skip Lang's film and watch Wilder's.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

½

This is a more intense version of Scarlett Street, and I can't decide which one I like better, but they have such similar plots, I get them mixed up.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

½

First M, then Metropolis, and now The Woman in the Window. It seems that when Lang is at the helm, I can always expect a great film. While this is the first film of his that I have seen of his days in America, it appears that his transpacific migration did not have a negative effect on his eye for fantastic cinema. This slick noir features an aging professor Richard Wanley who is played by Edward G. Robinson. While Wanley's family is out of town, he fears going out on the town with his friends because he knows to ignore what he calls the , "Siren call of adventure." While the lure of eroticism is constantly hovering around him, he prefers to stay inside. However, upon a fateful encounter with a young woman, he becomes involved in a murder. Lang expertly gives the viewer the sense of Wanley's inner turmoil as the police begin to gather evidence that could lead to his conviction. Lang's constant use of mirrors illuminate the double nature of these characters while his use of clocks help to build suspense and shows that time waits for no man, regardless of class. To the chagrin of many, the twist ending adds another element to Lang's theme of sexual repression. While I was a bit disappointed, it does seem logical for Lang to use this twist seeing as he was the man who helped bring about a similar twist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. All in all, a densely packed film that is not only a success for fans of Lang, but for fans of Noir as well.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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