to Home page  

Rex Butler

to Index of Issue 5
to Next Article
to Previous Article
to Subscribe page
to Rouge Press page

Giò Abate
Gilbert Adair
Alvaro Arroba
Helen Bandis
Cyril Béghin
Janet Bergstrom
Yvette Bíró
Bertrand Bonello
Fabien Boully
Nicole Brenez
Rex Butler
Peggy Chiao
Jean-Pierre Coursodon
Stéphane Delorme
Stephen Dwoskin
Michael Eaton
David Ehrenstein
Thomas Elsaesser
Chris Fujiwara
Ruy Gardnier
Roger Garcia
Charlotte Garson
John Gianvito
Augustin Gimel
Philippe Grandrieux
Eugène Green
Paul Hammond
Peter Harcourt
Shigehiko Hasumi
Kent Jones
Bill Krohn
Miguel Marias
Adrian Martin
Fermin Martínez
David Matarasso
Grant McDonald
Meaghan Morris
V F Perkins
Douglas Pye
Mark Rappaport
Jackie Raynal
Jonathan Rosenbaum
William D. Routt
Jayce Salloum
Clemente Sobourin
François Thomas
Jean-Baptiste Thoret
Peter Tscherkassky
Johanna Vaude
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Manuel Yáñez
Andrei Zelitsky





The Woman in the Window (Fritz Lang, 1944)


Fritz Lang has always been one of my favourite directors. As with Hitchcock, his 'telegraphic clarity of narrative technique' (Tom Gunning) lends his films an abstract, almost diagrammatic quality, something of the sense of inevitability of all great art. Interesting, then, that so many of his films deal with the chaos and disorder running beneath the surface order of things. Perhaps the purest example of this is The Woman in the Window, the first of the trilogy starring Joan Bennett and truly the complement to It’s a Wonderful Life, made around the same time in 1946. A noirish mise en abyme tale, The Woman in the Window features several moments of brilliant, caustic humour: the famous shot at the end of the film when Edward G. Robinson, playing Professor of Criminal Psychology Richard Wanley, gets his clothes re-arranged around him while he is framed in extreme close-up; his friend District Attorney Frank Lalor inadvertently characterising him as of 'moderate circumstances' while describing the hypothetical killer (I can identify with that!); and the wonderful conceit of a beautiful woman asking a homely middle-aged man to go upstairs and see her etchings (ditto!). In a film about the virtual fantasy world and the unleashed Id, what more fitting than this shot of the delectable Joan Bennett as femme fatale with – of all things – a nude female torso reflected in a mirror behind her?