They don’t make movies like this anymore. Three major stars of the past were cast in this classic film full of suspense and with an unexpected ending which could not be foreseen. Edward G. Robinson plays the part of a straight-laced professor, Richard Wanley, whose wife and children leave on vacation as he manages on his own while they are away. He and his friend, district attorney Frank Lalor, portrayed by Raymond Massey, are captivated by the portrait of a beautiful woman in a store window. Wanley is startled when the woman shows up next to him as he is admiring the portrait a second time.
The woman’s name is Alice Reed (Joan Bennett) and their accidental meeting takes the two on an unplanned set of events which promises to change their future for the rest of their lives. Alice invites Richard to her apartment to view some additional portraits of herself; Richard accompanies her although it is against his better judgment. While they are having a drink, a male friend of Alice’s stomps in and confronts the two and tries to tackle Richard. Alice hands Richard a scissors with which he stabs the man several times, leaving the intruder dead.
Although Richard acted in self-defense, he and Alice both have reasons not to be involved in explaining the matter to the police. They concoct a plan to dispose of the man’s body in a distant field, insuring that they cannot be connected in any way to the killing. Their plan is somewhat thwarted when it comes to light that the intruder has been trailed by a private investigator for some time due to some shady dealings on his part.
The private investigator (played by Dan Duryea) tries to bribe Alice, pretending that he knows more than he does about her connection to the man who is now listed by the police as missing.
Since Richard’s friend, the district attorney, is involved heavily in the case, he relates to Richard the latest developments as they unfold. Richard gives himself away at times, knowing more about the case than an innocent bystander might.
I did not see the end coming. The events were fraught with such tension and trepidation that the viewer was unable to foresee a conclusion to the horrible dilemma experienced by the two people thrust into such an implausible situation.
Treat yourself to this classic film which has never gotten old. It is worth an evening of your time.
The Woman in the Window (1944)