Being the film nerd that I am, I simply had to rent the ultimate film noir classic, Scarlet Street.
The 1945 film revolves around Christopher Cross, a middle-aged man who is overwhelmed by his domineering wife who hates him and his thankless job at the bank.
By accident, he runs into femme fatale, Kitty Marsh.
Chris falls madly in love with Kitty, who may or may not be a prostitute (the film skirts around that issue). After some miscommunication, Kitty begins to think Chris is a famous painter.
After telling her controlling fiance, he devises a plan for Kitty to become Chris's mistress, so they can rob the poor man of a fortune he doesn't even have.
I could not have been more pleased with my selection. Although the film desperately needs to be restored, I found myself liking the antique grittiness of each frame. It contributed to the film's dark plot and overall mystique.
Everything about this film is old-school glamorous. The acting is intense. Kitty's costumes are breathtakingly gorgeous. The plot is action-packed. There is never a dull minute to spare.
But most of all, I found myself becoming incredibly fascinated with the sexy Hollywood siren, Joan Bennett, who plays Kitty.
She is the ultimate film noir bombshell.
The more I researched Joan Bennett, the more interesting she became. I was surprised to learn that Joan's life would make a pretty kick ass movie itself.
Both sides of her family had been in theater since the 18th century. Growing up, Jean was insistent not to follow in her family's footsteps. But after a bitter divorce with a cruel alcoholic, the 18-year-old found herself with a baby to support. She turned to acting as a last resort.
The decision made her a star.
Jean started out in silent films and made the quick transition to sound. Audiences adored the smoldering brunette temptress and critics admired her talent.
It wasn't until she became the muse for famed film noir director, Fritz Lang, that her iconic status blossomed. He not only directed her in Scarlet Street, but also in four other films.
Her career, however, was quickly marred by scandal in 1951.
She was sitting in her convertible with her agent, when her third husband came up and shot her agent. He thought the two were having an affair. Fortunately, her agent didn't die. Her husband served six months in a mental institution after pleading "temporary insanity." Surprisingly, Joan did not divorce her husband. They remained together for 15 more years.
The incident ruined her career forever. She was blacklisted from Hollywood.
The incident also sadly destroyed Joan's image as a Hollywood icon. Not many people know her name today.
Take my advice and rent Scarlet Street. It will show you a glimpse of a film legend who deserves to be more than just a memory.