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Slightly Scarlet [DVD] [1956] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Slightly Scarlet [DVD] [1956] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + I Wake Up Screaming [DVD] [1941] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: John Payne, Rhonda Fleming, Arlene Dahl, Kent Taylor, Ted de Corsia
  • Directors: Allan Dwan
  • Writers: James M. Cain, Robert Blees
  • Producers: Benedict Bogeaus
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: United Home
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Feb 2002
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y70Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,416 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Wilson on 24 Nov 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A film noir in glorious colour, and great fun. Yes, there is a bit of violence, but it's done fairly discreetly, and everyone looks very glamorous and moody. There's a good audio commentary as well, which confirmed my theory that the whole thing was done in a deliberately overblown way, much as Douglas Sirk used to do in his melodramas. Enjoy the colour, the clothes, the cars and the terrific sets and don't worry too much about the acting - it's not meant to be taken too seriously.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 April 2013
Format: DVD
Film reviewed only, version I watched was the French DVD out of the Allan Dwan Box Set.

Slightly Scarlet is directed by Allan Dwan and adapted to screenplay by Robert Blees from the novel Love's Lovely Counterfeit written by James M. Cain. It stars John Payne, Rhonda Fleming, Arlene Dahl, Kent Taylor and Ted de Corsa. A Technicolor/SuperScope production, music is scored by Louis Forbes and cinematography by John Alton.

June Lyons (Fleming) is "secretary" to anti-crime campaigner Frank Jansen (Taylor), so with Jansen in the running for mayor, mob boss Solly Caspar (Corsa) looks for a way to smear Jansen. The chance arises by way of June's sister, Dorothy (Dahl), a Kleptomaniac just released from prison. So Caspar puts his main man on the case, Ben Grace (Payne), but bossing Grace around and then putting him in the middle of two fire-cracker sisters could prove detrimental to all.

The story is altered from Cain's source and in truth what reads like a tricky plot, actually isn't all that it can be. Yet it's a feverish Technicolor noir, proof positive that in the right photographic/director hands, noir can thrive away from the monochrome.

It plays out its tale in a whirl of simmering passions and wonderfully lurid suggestions, sparkled by eye scorching photography and a deliriously devilish production design. Psychological smarts are in the mix, with no easy answers put forward to character's outcomes, while in true noir fashion all principal characters are hard to like or are intriguingly flawed.

John Alton is the key hand here, he brings rich colours to the fore whilst ensuring that light and shadow techniques are not compromised.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mike on 21 Oct 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of those rare noir movies, filmed in colour.The best one to
blossom out of the dark into colour was,I belive,'Leave her to Heaven'.
However here we have the usual formula with great visuals,
a handsome hero, two leading ladies instead of one,plus assorted villains,
and lets not leave out the gorgeous clothes that always seemed just right
for the occasion.

Mike Myers
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Pretty weak story line. Sometimes devolves into some kind of Doris Day type film - check the background music on one of the drives along the ocean.

The picture quantity is quite horrible - one really misses out on Fleming and dahl
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
"Slightly Scarlet" : Definitely Get It 19 April 2002
By mackjay - Published on
Format: DVD
The DVD from VCI presents this film in its widescreen version and the technicolor photography by JOHN ALTON looks terrific. I admit I was at first perplexed by the color: it did not seem necessary. So I turned the color off on the TV and watched some scenes in black & white--they looked terriic, vintage Alton. But watching again in color I realized what may be the very special quality this film has: it looks like those PULP CRIME NOVEL COVERS we have all enjoyed over the years. The reds, greens, blues, yellows, etc of those wonderful old covers seem to be reproduced here. In combination with the very pulpy, James M. Cain-based plotline, we have an extremely FUN movie.
Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl play sisters who share some sort of duplicitous secret from childhood. Director Alan Dwan (who replaced Kurt Neumann for this film) makes sure we appreciate the doppelgangerishness of the actresses from the opening scene--Fleming picks up Dahl as she exits prison and the two embrace in that movie-ish way, cheek-to-cheek, so their striking similarity of features and RED HAIR can be fully displayed. Fleming really could act, and she gets some choice scenes, but Dahl tends to steal most of Fleming's thunder with her pouty, Dorothy Malone-like, bad girl characterization.
John Payne--by 1956 and aging matinee idol--makes a pretty good conflicted lead. But the other real standout is Ted de Corsia as a mean, mean villain along the lines of Lawrence Tierney or Ward Bond. De Corsia gets to chew garishly colored scenery at several turns.
It's always a pleasure to see the ubiquitous Ellen Corby as Fleming's thankless and clueless housekeeper ("what should I make for supper?"..oops she's being arrested!). And one never tires of Frank Gerstle and Lance Fuller (one of de Corsia's thugs)
The disc has an informative commentary by mystery writer/filmmaker Max Collins. Extras really make the package: a static, luridly-colored main menu leads (via realistic-sounding gunshots!) to the extras menu, which includes a nicely done James M. Cain bio and a little panorama of color reproductions of Cain pulp covers from Collins' own collections. There are also some trailers: for "Slightly Scarlet" (this one looks good) and atrociously awful-looking ones for "Double Indemnity" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice".
Highly enjoyable all around.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By Mark Norvell - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I like this 50's pulp film because it's an example of what must have been considered "adult" back then. Tough, brutal--with "girlie" shots of redhead Rhonda Fleming in scanty outfits and the all-out performance of Arlene Dahl as her klepto/nympho/psycho sister-both vying for the he-man pleasures of hunky John Payne and everyone caught up in Big City Corruption and Scandal. Lushly photographed and tightly directed ,this is fun stuff--worth repeat viewings any time. Good quality DVD product from VCI that's in vivid 50's color.
I recommend this for buffs who like a little cheese on their cracker--like me.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Two Torrid Redheads 24 Feb 2007
By William Hare - Published on
Format: DVD
"Slightly Scarlet" was released in 1956. This was a period when the film industry had been rocked on its heels by what Hollywood insiders referred to sarcastically as that "little black box" that we call television.

Since this was the period before color television or wide screens the idea was to exploit the advantage that the film medium had by supplying viewers with what television lacked. They sought to motivate television viewers out of their living room easy chairs and back into theaters by providing luscious color and wide screen entertainment.

The trailer for "Slightly Scarlet" revealed the marketing strategy of producer Benedict Bogeaus. To use the quote that football coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns used to describe the impact of his superstar fullback Jim Brown in the days before both of them reached the Hall of Fame in their respective categories, "If you've got a cannon you shoot it."

What was revealed in the trailer was the emphasis on the two female stars. They were referred to as "the two most beautiful redheads" in films. There could be little doubt that the torrid redheads starring in "Slightly Scarlet" deserved the accolade. The only injustice was that the other two redhead beauties of the period, Susan Hayward and Maureen O'Hara, were left out of the equation, but because they were not in the film the omission was therefore understandable.

Rhonda Fleming, who had been discovered in her teens by Henry Willson, who would as an agent guide the careers of Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter and Guy Madison, and who was then casting director for David O. Selznick, made an eye catching debut playing a psychopath with nymphomaniacal tendencies who also likes to physically hurt men in the great Alfred Hitchcock hit, "Spellbound."

So impressive was Fleming's beauty that on one occasion a director and his cinematographer tried diligently on one occasion to photograph her at every conceivable angle to see if they could make her look bad in at least one shot. They were impressed to discover that they could not. Fleming's natural beauty prevailed in every instance.

Fleming in "Slightly Scarlet" plays an executive secretary to a man seeking to reform a city riddled with gangland corruption. Fleming's life becomes complicated when her sister gets out of jail and moves in with her.

The devastating Arlene Dahl, one of the few women who could hold her own against Fleming, the actress who was called "The queen of Technicolor" for good reason, is cast as Fleming's sister. She is both a nymphomaniac and a kleptomaniac, so Fleming is naturally kept busy looking after her.

John Payne, after having a falling out with mob boss Ted de Corsia, seeks help from Fleming and quickly falls in love with her. Dahl complicates things by making a move of her own.

Dahl does such a job of investing her part with gusto, performing in a manner reminiscent of Carol Baker in "Baby Doll," that Leonard Maltin in his review of "Slightly Scarlet" credits the Minnesota born beauty with "stealing the film."

Director Allan Dwan, a veteran of films who began in the silents after a stint as an assistant football coach at his alma mater, Notre Dame, knew about the "twin cannons" he had to shoot in this film, the devastating beauty of two torrid redheads. Considering it was the fifties with the Breen Office very much a factor, the film is daring in the manner that Fleming and Dahl are portrayed as well as attired.

Dwan wisely opts for colorful cinema over realism in a film moving in that direction. For instance, when Fleming springs Dahl from jail the sister who has just been released is attired in the manner of a rich man's wife ready to go shopping on Rodeo Drive.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By Henning Sebastian Jahre - Published on
Format: DVD
This is a fastmoving filmnoir in blazing TECHNICOLOR - and the better for it. The photography by John Alton is spectacular as are the set design and costumes(with Arlene Dahl having a finger in even that)...

John Payne(from SUN VALLEY SERENADE-fame) is quite good as the worldweary guy who take what croms that are offered... Unlike Bogart or Cagney he is a believable character with no high drama or over the top macho stuff. Ted deCorsia is brilliant as Sully the hoodlum - the best I`ve seen really...

But it is ARLENE DAHL who steals the show. At first she is just glamour, but she emerges to what surely is a performance of Oscar material.

Her performance is a beauty to behold - as critic Alison DeWytt in the 20th Century-Fox film "All About Eve" would say: "What a PERFORMANCE... Full of FIRE and music....!"

It`s regrettable that this film has little reputation, because it is 90 minutes of excitement, of fun and intrigue.

I have come to love Arlene Dahl over the years. Posterity names her only as a decorative plant, but with other Norwegian girls in US and UK films - GRETA GYNT, SIGRID GURIE and VERA ZORINA - she remains sadly underrated...

At home I have a collection of films starring these women. I call it the "Susan Dahl collection" hehehe - which includes THE GOLDWYN FOLLIES, ALGIERS, THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO(all 1938), THE DARK EYES OF LONDON 1939, THREE FACES WEST, I WAS AN ADVENTURESS(both 1940), LOUISIANA PURCHASE 1941, TAKE MY LIFE, DEAR MURDERER(both 1947), THE OUTRIDERS, THREE LITTLE WORDS(both 1950), SLIGHTLY SCARLET of course - THE VIKINGS(filmed in Norway)1958 and JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH 1959.

These films showcase these underrated Norwegian girls and themes THAT SHOULD N O T be neglected or forgotten...

The Rhonda Fleming/Arlene Dahl chemistry is good and they seem indeed to be the source of many a trash-book cover of any detective story....

I hope SLIGHTLY SCARLET will find the vast audience it deserves with the likes of LAURA, DOUBLE INDEMNITY and TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Battle of the Raging Redheads! 4 May 2008
By Jay Lesiger - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The novels of James M. Cain were a true challenge to filmmakers of the 1940s and 1950s. With censorship still very much an issue, screenwriters and directors could only hint, or make oblique reference to the very steamy plots and situations he devised. At least two true Cain-inspired classics came out of this era (DOUBLE INDEMNITY and the original THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE); interestingly, when censorship was no longer an issue, the remake of POSTMAN with its many sex scenes, didn't really work. SLIGHTLY SCARLET is hardly in a class with those two 40s film noir masterpieces, but in its own way, it's a little gem of a melodrama . Misses Dahl and Fleming, two of the screen's most beautiful reheads who are thankfully still with us, battle it out for screen time and glory, and although Ms. Dahl certainly has the flashier part, and gives an appropriately sizzling performance, Ms. Fleming more than holds her own as the "good" sister (the fact that she seems to be sleeping with two men at the same time is never mentioned, but the inference is pretty clear). In any event, both women are extremely effective, as is John Payne, here in his tough-guy period (like Dick Powell, he went from grinning, singing juvenile in the 1930s/early 1940s to become one of the screen's more interesting morally ambiguous men in a series of film noir-type films of the late 1940s/early 1950s). Plenty of violence, and solid direction from veteran Allan Dwan make this a very watchable film.
The VCI Entertainment DVD is pretty good; color is a little washed-out (you can see the more vivid color in the trailer), but it is in widescreen (RKO's answer to Cinemascope, thanks to mogul Howard Hughes, was dubbed "Superscope"), and there are some cool extras, including a still gallery, James Cain bio etc. All in all, worth your time.
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