The Woman in the Window

1944 film by Fritz Lang

The Woman in the Window is a 1944 American film noir about a conservative middle-aged professor who engages in a minor dalliance with a femme fatale and is plunged into a nightmarish quicksand of blackmail and murder.

Joan Bennett in The Woman in the Window
Raymond Massey, Edward G. Robinson & Edmund Breon in The Woman in the Window
Directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel Once Off Guard by J. H. Wallis.
It was the look in her eyes that made him think of murder. (taglines)

Richard Wanley

  • [lecturing] The Biblical injunction "Thou shalt not kill" is one that requires qualification in view of our broader knowledge of impulses behind homicide. The various legal categories such as first and second degree murder, the various degrees of homicide, manslaughter, are civilized recognitions of impulses of various degrees of culpability. The man who kills in self defense, for instance, must not be judged by the same standards applied to the man who kills for gain.
  • The streets were dark with something more than night.
  • There are only three ways to deal with a blackmailer. You can pay him and pay him and pay him until you're penniless. Or you can call the police yourself and let your secret be known to the world. Or you can kill him.
  • [Sees Alice Reed for the first time, after just seeing her painting in the window] I-I couldn't have drunk that much.

Frank Lalor

  • In the District Attorney's office we see what happens to middle-aged men who try acting like colts.
  • We rarely arrest people just for knowing where the body was.


  • Dr. Michael Barkstane: We've decided she's our dream girl just from that picture.
  • Heidt: I don't want to make trouble for anybody. I can, of course, but I don't want to.


Richard Wanley: [Indicates the painting in the window] Is it yours?
Alice Reed: No. I wish it were. Then I wouldn't have to come over here every so often to watch people's faces.
Richard Wanley: Is that what you do?
Alice Reed: Now and then, when I'm lonely.

Alice Reed: Well, there are two general reactions. One is a kind of solemn stare for the painting.
Richard Wanley: And the other?
Alice Reed: The other is a long, low whistle.
Richard Wanley: What was mine?
Alice Reed: I'm not sure. But I suspect that in another moment or two you might have given a long, low, solemn whistle.

Richard Wanley: The flesh is still strong, but the spirit grows weaker by the hour. You know, even if the spirit of adventure should rise up before me and beckon, even in the form of that alluring young woman in the window next door, I'm afraid that all I'll do is clutch my coat a little tighter, mutter something idiotic and run like the devil.
Dr. Michael Barkstane: Not before you got her number, I hope?
Richard Wanley: Probably.

Alice Reed: [Offering him a drink] Let's have another.
Richard Wanley: I should say no, I know, but I haven't the slightest intention of saying it.

Richard Wanley: Well, what do you think?
Frank Lalor: [Distractedly] The woman?
Richard Wanley: You think she's the one?
Frank Lalor: I don't know. She's got something on her conscience, but what woman hasn't?

Claude Mazard: [Barges in] Who are you?
Richard Wanley: [Stands up] My name is...
Alice Reed: [Runs in from other room] Frank! Frank, darling, listen to me!
Claude Mazard: I told you if you ever- [slaps Alice in the face]
Richard Wanley: Stop that you fool!
Claude Mazard: Fool, eh? [Punches Wanley]

Alice Reed: Well? Will you say what you've got to say and get out of here?
Heidt: Sure. If you didn't hear it, it was on the radio tonight. Another reward for ten thousand dollars for any information leading to the arrest of the murderer of Claude Mazard. You didn't hear it?
Alice Reed: And if I had, it wouldn't have meant one thing to me.
Heidt: Now if you're gonna start claiming you never knew him, you can save your breath. 'Cause I've been tailing him for months, and I've tailed him here many a time.

Streetwalker: Pardon me. Will you give me a light?
Richard Wanley: No. Oh, no. Thank you indeed. Not for a million dollars.


  • It was the look in her eyes that made him think of murder.
  • The screen's supreme adventure in suspense!


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