BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

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Ribs
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BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#1 Post by Ribs » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:28 pm

Coming in May, full details tomorrow.

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TMDaines
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Re: BD 204 The Woman in the Window

#2 Post by TMDaines » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:20 am

Nice. Love me some Lang.

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hearthesilence
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Re: BD 204 The Woman in the Window

#3 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:10 pm

Excellent precursor to Scarlet Street. I remember seeing them back-to-back and it's like they never wrapped The Woman in the Window and kept shooting their next film with the same production.

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swo17
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BD 205 Cloak and Dagger

#4 Post by swo17 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:41 pm


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TMDaines
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#5 Post by TMDaines » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:13 pm

Some sweet extras on this disk. Looks definitive.

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What A Disgrace
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#6 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:20 pm

The moment I buy Kino's Blu-ray of Scarlet Street, Masters of Cinema will release a 2 x Blu-ray with a 100 page booklet from a new restoration I didn't know about. And until I do, they'll keep releasing Lang noirs that aren't Scarlet Street.

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domino harvey
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#7 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:23 pm

An eleven hour radio series has to be one of the longest bonus features ever!

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Drucker
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#8 Post by Drucker » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:42 pm

Woman in the Window is superb! But I thought Cloak and Dagger was supposed to be one of the weaker Langs?

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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#9 Post by ianthemovie » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:40 pm

Drucker wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:42 pm
But I thought Cloak and Dagger was supposed to be one of the weaker Langs?
I found it to be just "okay" when I watched it about five years ago (while reading J. Hoberman's An Army of Phantoms, where he discusses its relevance as a Cold War-era film), though I remember a prolonged, wordless/nearly silent fight scene in an alley that was quite good and reminded me of something out of Hitchcock.

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TMDaines
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#10 Post by TMDaines » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:48 am

Drucker wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:42 pm
Woman in the Window is superb! But I thought Cloak and Dagger was supposed to be one of the weaker Langs?
It is, but still a nice release.

eerik
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#11 Post by eerik » Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:23 pm

Ayyy, I ordered some Langs I was missing from Amazon France last week but forgot to add Cloak & Dagger to the cart and did not bother making a new order. MoC release feels like a great reward for my mistakes and laziness.

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Florinaldo
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#12 Post by Florinaldo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:03 pm

ianthemovie wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:40 pm
I found it to be just "okay" when I watched it about five years ago (while reading J. Hoberman's An Army of Phantoms, where he discusses its relevance as a Cold War-era film), though I remember a prolonged, wordless/nearly silent fight scene in an alley that was quite good and reminded me of something out of Hitchcock.
Without doing a hack or throwaway job, Lang does not seem very engaged in making the film as compared to many of his other noirs or spy films. That sequence does stand out, with the protagonist having to dispose of an enemy agent without attracting the attention of people in the street. It reminded me of the same challenge facing two characters in Hictchcock's Torn Curtain who have to dispose of a secret policeman agent in silence and they end up shoving his head in a gas oven.

I also found stolid Cooper not very convincing either as a scientist or as an action lead. But the added extras might help me appreciate the film a little more.

As others have said, one can only wish MoC will eventually turn their attention to Scarlet Street and produce a BD edition worthy of what could be described as a thematic (and casting) Siamese twin to The Woman in the Window.
Last edited by Florinaldo on Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Finch
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#13 Post by Finch » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:28 pm

Scarlet Street would have been a more attractive choice, especially to kick off the new year, but who knows whether MoC even have it or if Arrow or Indicator or someone else altogether beat them to it. I really hope that Cloak and Dagger is not indicative of what we can expect for the rest of the year.

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rapta
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#14 Post by rapta » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:57 pm

Finch wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:28 pm
Scarlet Street would have been a more attractive choice, especially to kick off the new year, but who knows whether MoC even have it or if Arrow or Indicator or someone else altogether beat them to it. I really hope that Cloak and Dagger is not indicative of what we can expect for the rest of the year.
C&D is #205 so has probably been in the works for a little while now. Other than that there are only a few gaps left to fill in the spine numbers so far (#207, #215, #220) so I don't expect there will be a whole load more studio stuff unless they continue their Paramount deal (I know they were trying to get China Gate for the Fuller set, and have been constantly bugging them about Johnny Guitar as well, which they were trying to get too). In fact, I think I know what #207 is already (one of the disc contributors told me).

As for Scarlet Street, I'm pretty sure MoC will be trying to get that one as best they can, but since it's one of Lang's best regarded films of the era I suppose Indicator or Arrow could also have been chasing it. I'd be surprised if Eureka didn't lock it in though, especially if they were keen to get Human Desire and Cloak & Dagger.

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Finch
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#15 Post by Finch » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:37 pm

I watched The Woman in the Window again thanks to a Youtube upload of the old MGM DVD. My problems with the ending are two-fold: the reveal feels unearned and while the idea could in and of itself have worked, the film undermines it by effectively shrugging it all off with a falsely reassuring pat on the head instead of exploring the troubling aspect of Robinson's fantasy further. What makes Scarlet Street great is that that film is prepared to stare into the abyss and not waver, this one pulls back from the brink just when it should have held its nerve. Had Spielberg been working in 1944, this is exactly the kind of mostly excellent but annoyingly self-deflating film he'd have directed.

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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#16 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:17 pm

Finch wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:37 pm
I watched The Woman in the Window again thanks to a Youtube upload of the old MGM DVD. My problems with the ending are two-fold: the reveal feels unearned and while the idea could in and of itself have worked, the film undermines it by effectively shrugging it all off with a falsely reassuring pat on the head instead of exploring the troubling aspect of Robinson's fantasy further. What makes Scarlet Street great is that that film is prepared to stare into the abyss and not waver, this one pulls back from the brink just when it should have held its nerve. Had Spielberg been working in 1944, this is exactly the kind of mostly excellent but annoyingly self-deflating film he'd have directed.
I agree with that claim and comparison. The film’s ending has always felt like either a cop-out or a half-measure to something that feels absent of meaning. Here’s my writeup from the 40s thread:
therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:30 pm
The Woman in the Window: With a cast like this and a director like Lang, you can hardly lose, but this has never struck me as anything other than a mediocre noir. There is still value in some original qualities to the performances and story structure that are worth noting and earn the picture its status as an important film if not a particularly great one. As excellent as the always dependable Robinson and Duryea are, it’s Bennett who walks away with the movie, not so much for her range of femme fatale emotions, which are fully on display here, but in the way she lurks in the background like a cat, sly, unpredictable, and unknowable. She embodies the ultimate kind of dangerous, devoid of any clear aims or intent common in most femme fatales, at least for a good chunk of the runtime.

As for the structure, the film is divided into three distinct acts that are given a roughly even amount of attention. The choice to spend the first third of the film cleaning up a crime scene in real time is a unique choice and allows for Robinson to play his part with a range of authenticity for a person in such a predicament, while also giving space for Bennett to exhibit her mysterious nature in a variety of forms. The second act places Robinson feeling the burn of the case and keeps him close to the action as he attempts to play it cool during heart pounding moments. Again, the choice to spend so much time stewing in these scenes is a very deliberate and risky choice, and Lang trusts (and succeeds) in his abilities to pull this off without losing the viewer.

The final act is, well, a mix of tense interactions and plot elements that stick their landing and some that don’t cut it. A significant barrier to accessing this film for me is knowing the ending going into a revisit, which paints the entire narrative as meaningless. I know there are plenty of people who think of this as one of the only examples of this kind of ending done right, but I’ve never felt anything but offense from it and disrespect for the investment. I “get” it, and the purpose works better in revisits when you can see the film through this lens, but I still find the choice troubling at worst and ineffective at best. Before that moment comes, there are plenty of elements to like and admire but nothing to love.
I do think that despite the first part working exceptionally for me, this is one of those movies that hinges its entire significance on an ending that undermines all that came before it. So even the parts I like feel nullified of merit because
SpoilerShow
they never happened
I think you’re right that the film would have been more interesting if the twist was itself analyzed even just a little to insinuate some kind of new thematic value.

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Finch
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#17 Post by Finch » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:14 am

Yes, the fact that it doesn't even bother to engage with the reveal in a meaningful way really cheapens the entire film. I wonder if this was a "one for them, one for me" situation for Lang and Woman in the Window was a contractual obligation in exchange for making Scarlet Street? This is total conjecture on my part but the ending feels so disingenuous that it's hard to imagine this was a project Lang was truly passionate about, especially when literally the next film, and one with the same cast and crew and even (superficial) plot similarities, goes in all the way.

They could have played this a number of ways:
SpoilerShow
Robinson is haunted by his dream and the woman and decides to find her for real. She spots him looking at her portrait and takes him home as in the dream. Then her lover interrupts and that's where the reality could split from the dream. Because he is forearmed with the knowledge from the dream, he fends off the other man and, say, kills him with his bare hands instead of the scissors. Bennett is impressed. Duryea has been shadowing his boss and waylays Robinson when he tries to dispose of the corpse. Robinson kills Duryea, too. Bennett takes him for her new lover. Eventually she gets bored with him and hooks up with someone else but he catches wind of that and the three of them end up mortally wounding each other.
or
SpoilerShow
The other woman bumps into Robinson as in the film but he is looking at Bennett's portrait and he sees Bennett in her, and she senses it's not her he's interested in and he ends up killing her because he mistakes her for Bennett and can't possess her.
Would be interesting to know if the ending as filmed is carried over from the novel.

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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#18 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:30 am

I don’t know about the novel but I believe
SpoilerShow
the ending was supposed to involve Robinson committing suicide but Lang filmed the “it’s all a dream” one to appease the Code
I think he shows a significant amount of interest in the film for a good portion of it, especially that first section’s expert pacing and perfect attention to, and blocking with, Joan Bennett. I know plenty of people here and elsewhere love the whole package so we may be the odd ducks on this one.

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Finch
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#19 Post by Finch » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:42 am

Okay, let's assume the Hays code panel told them to soften the impact of the film, but if Robinson committing suicide was an issue in the earlier film, why would they let it slide in Scarlet Street? Because Robinson is technically innocent in the former but clearly not in the latter?

Don't get me wrong: I like the film a lot but I also feel that the cop out is all the more frustrating because everything leading up to the reveal is so well done.

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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#20 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:01 am

They let it slide in Scarlet Street? I thought it’s botched. I’m pretty sure the Hays Code doesn’t allow it period because it’s illegal and unchristian, though there are certainly exceptions out there. And yeah, I think we’re in complete agreement on the strengths and problems with Woman in the Window.

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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#21 Post by Florinaldo » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:55 am

The "it was all a dream" ending has often been divisive. I remember a showing in film class where about a third the group disliked it it, another third loved it and the rest could not understand the controversy.

Myself, I have never been bothered by it or felt it as a cop-out. I do not mind being fooled when it is cleverly done as was the case here in my view, both technically (EGR's first layer of clothing being removed at the end of the forward track to his sleeping face and then the reveal as the shot pulls back again), and then with many characters from his dream being shown to be actual people he runs across in real life, but recast in other roles. It was a consequence of censorhip, but Lang and his crew responded admirably to the unexpected circumstances; directing is often "managing accidents" as Orson Welles used to say.

As for Scarlet Street, the ending was softened a bit; they shot a scene of EGR atop a telephone pole near the prison, gleefully cackling as he watches the lights flicker during the execution, but it was deleted. There is at least one still of the scene that survives. Perhaps they thought that him walking despondently through the streets being taunted by the voices he hears in his head was dark enough, without the need to make him a bit sadistic on top of it.

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Finch
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#22 Post by Finch » Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:49 pm

Thank you for that, florinaldo. I hadn't known of the deleted scene from Scarlet Street before.

I like that he recognises the club staff as characters from his dream. I just wish they had done more with this but they may have been restricted by budgetary issues (maybe International Pictures wouldn't give them more to shoot more footage and/or they felt that an extra 20 mins or so would have made the film too long).

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Florinaldo
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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#23 Post by Florinaldo » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:44 pm

Finch wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:49 pm
I like that he recognises the club staff as characters from his dream. I just wish they had done more with this but they may have been restricted by budgetary issues (maybe International Pictures wouldn't give them more to shoot more footage and/or they felt that an extra 20 mins or so would have made the film too long).
True, they do not really dwell on the casting parallels, not that there is too many of them. In the screening I mentioned above, a good portion of the audience did not catch any of them them and another sub-group only recognized the doorman, probably because Dan Duryea has a very characteristic face – including that big square chin – and silhouette (rather tall and lanky). I seem to remember that those who caught those duplicate characters were mostly in the segment of people attending the class as auditors like I was, not the regular students who were actually earning credits for the course and should therefore have been paying more attention. :wink:

The still of EGR at the top of the telephone pole is included on the Kino Lorber edition of the movie, as well as captures from a couple of other more mundane deleted scenes. The French Wild Side DVD also features a picture of him climbing down from the pole and being confronted by what looks like a security guard.

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Re: BD 204-205 The Woman in the Window & Cloak and Dagger

#24 Post by Florinaldo » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:13 am

Cloak and Beaver, as well as Rewind.

MoC started shipping pre-orders last week. I received mine today. Now I just have to figure out when I will find the time to listen to 12 hours of radio extras. :wink:

This title is still part of their 2 for 25 £ promotion. I like that contrary to other labels or vendors, if you buy a combination of already released and coming titles, they ship the in-stock title immediately and the other one as it becomes available.

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