best film: Double Indemnity is the best film Robinson was in and he’s integral to the noir masterpiece. In your mind put another actor in place of him for his key scenes with Fred MacMurray— it doesn’t work.

best performance:  Scarlet Street blew me away. Robinson’s tragic Christopher Cross (yep, that’s his name) gets to you as a viewer. It also shows Robinson can do more than play the heavy or manipulator/pusher (see his quote below in stylistic innovations/traits). He’s castrated here (the picture of him in the apron) and then a doormat for Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. It’s noir-influenced 1940’s Fritz Lang and it’s very bleak.

stylistic innovations/traits: Robinson is a stout, powerful actor at 5’7. He was Romanian born and famous for saying “some people have youth, some have beauty–I have menace.”  He absolutely was foreboding—playing characters causing harm and striking fear in films from Key Largo to The Ten Commandments. He could do comedy often playing upon his gangster persona/typecasting (Larceny, Inc is one of Woody’s favorite’s and it’s damn good) and certainly he could do crime (like few others). He’s probably, at this point, best known for Little Caesar or The Ten Commandments but it’s his 1940’s decade with Double Indemnity, Key Largo, and the two Fritz Lang collaborations that gets him this high on the list.

directors worked with:   Fritz Lang (2), Lloyd Bacon (2) and then once a piece with Leroy, Wilder, Curtiz, Welles, Huston and DeMille

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Scarlet Street
  2. Little Caesar
  3. Key Largo
  4. Woman in the Window
  5. Double Indemnity

Archiveable films

1931- Little Caesar
1938- A Slight Case of Murder
1941- The Sea Wolf
1942- Larceny, Inc.
1944- Double Indemnity
1944- Woman in the Window
1945- Scarlet Street
1946- The Stranger
1947- The Red House
1948- Key Largo
1956- The Ten Commandments
1964- Robin and The Seven Hoods
1965- The Cincinnati Kid