THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944) Director: Fritz Lang. NOTE: This review goes into important plot details.
Edward G. Robinson is a married-with-children, middle-aged professor who becomes acquainted with the beautiful model (Joan Bennett) for a painting that he sees in the window of a gallery. At her apartment, he is assaulted by another middle-aged man who has been seeing Bennett, and has to kill him in self-defense in order to keep from being strangled. Fearing publicity and ruination, and sure that no one will believe the truth, Robinson and Bennett try to cover up the crime, with the former dumping the dead man in the woods. Ironically, a friend of Robinson’s winds up investigating the murder, and in an intriguing sequence the "killer" accompanies him to the spot where the body was found. Then a blackmailer (Dan Duryea) shows up and our twosome decide the only way to deal with him is to kill him, perfectly willing to commit murder to cover up an act of self-defense! Woman in the Window holds your attention – Robinson is quite good except for some perfunctory moments – but the movie is strangely flat, uninvolving, and routinely directed by Fritz Lang, who -- despite his reputation in the suspense field -- was never in the league of Hitchcock; Hitch would have milked this for all it was worth. Probably the best scene has Bennett doing a roundelay with the slimy if likable Duryea, who won’t quite drink that glass of poison she’s given him. The "twist" ending is a real groaner. Not a terrible movie, but a terrible disappointment to be sure. The twist pretty much does away with the need to examine the moral implications of the story.
Verdict: Watch it but I warn you you'll groan at the end. **.