Plot: What’s it about?
Edward G. Robinson stars as Richard Wanley in The Woman in the Window. His wife and kids are out of town, and he starts up a harmless flirtation with “the woman in the window” played by Joan Bennett. There’s an oil portrait of her in a shop that Richard passes on the regular. Her name is Alice Reed and she invites Richard up to her place for drinks and to look at more pictures of her. Before long, Alice’s angry lover bursts into the apartment and an altercation breaks out with Richard stepping in. It ends with Richard killing the man in self-defense. Instead of calling the police (which he begins to do), Richard instead agrees to dispose of the body and keep this quiet. With the basic setup in place, we now wonder what will happen from here. Will they both be able to get away with this? Will Alice rat on Richard? Will Richard confess? These are all questions the film raises as we follow these characters on this journey.
Woman certainly has the feel of a film noir that fans will enjoy. I admit that I was expecting something a bit more suspenseful, but it’s the kind of film I feel will improve with multiple viewings. There’s even a clever twist ending that has a funny end scene to bring it all to a close. Performances are good, with Robinson hitting the right notes and Bennett playing her part appropriately. There are times that the Richard character almost gives himself away, but the other characters just can’t quite connect the dots. The film’s slower pace was something of a turnoff for me, but that’s where I feel a second viewing will let me enjoy it more. Now that I know what to expect, I can view it with a different perspective.
Video: How’s it look?
With a full-frame (1.33:1) transfer and being newly mastered in HD, the film looks quite nice. Taking everything into account, such as the film’s age, the image is quite sharp. There’s some noticeable grain at times, but nothing too distracting. It’s a film with a bit of a limited setting, but it’s at least presented nicely.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS track serves the film nicely. It’s probably the best the film has ever sounded. It’s mostly a talky, dialogue driven film, so keep expectations in mind. All things considered such as the film’s age and the kind of film it is, things are presented in a strong manner. There are some more intense scenes where things pick up, but the vocals have the crispness and show care was taken when bringing this film to the HD format.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Film historian Imogen Sara Smith provides some good insight into the film. At times she probably narrates a bit too much, but there’s still a lot of great tidbits here to make this a worthwhile track. There really is no shortage of insight into so many specific areas that you’re bound to find something interesting out of all of this.
- Theatrical Trailers – This includes a trailer for the film as well as other titles.
- Reversable Cover – This isn’t so much a feature, but felt it worth mentioning.
The Bottom Line
I had certain expectations going into this film that I think repeat viewings will help with. It’s not one of my favorites, especially of recent older titles I’ve reviewed, but I appreciate the noir elements. The story can be a little slow at times, but it eventually comes around. Fans can buy with confidence while others should seek out a rental first.