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Six more Edward G. Robinson films you must see

Key Largo
Warner Home Video

The Woman in the Window (1944) / Scarlet Street (1945), both directed by Fritz Lang. Two classic films noir directed by Lang that have virtually the same cast and some nearly identical story elements. In both films, Robinson plays a meek individual who gets involved with a mysterious woman (Joan Bennett) and finds himself mixed up in murder. Which film is better is debatable; The Woman in The Window’s controversial ending may tip the scale toward Scarlet Street, but Robinson and Joan Bennett are superb in both.

All My Sons (1948), directed by Irving Reis. The film version of the hit Broadway play by then up-and-coming playwright Arthur Miller, All My Sons may not fully capture Miller's fine play, but it is an intelligent, worthy adaptation, and Robinson scores as a manufacturer of airplane parts who harbors a horrible secret. The film is important not only for being the first adaptation of an Arthur Miller play, but also for being one of Burt Lancaster’s earliest movies.

Key Largo (1948), directed by John Huston. Playing with a powerhouse cast that includes Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson steals the film in his very first scene, in which he is shown in near closeup, lounging in a bathtub, smoking a cigar. From that point on, Robinson owns the film as old-time gangster Johnny Rocco, who takes over a hotel in the Florida Keys during hurricane season. His verbal and physical confrontations with his costars throughout are the stuff that movie classics are made of.

The Old Man Who Cried Wolf (1970), directed by Walter Grauman. A television movie made at a time when classic stars of yesteryear were finding good work on the small screen, The Old Man Who Cried Wolf stars Robinson as an elderly man who witnesses a murder but can’t get anybody to believe him. Nearly forty years after Little Caesar, Robinson proves he hasn't lost a single step in his twilight years, giving a performance that ranks with his best work. Unfortunately, this film, like many of the other TV movies of the seventies, is not readily available to purchase or rent at the time of this writing.

Soylent Green (1973), directed by Richard Fleischer. Charlton Heston stars in this classic science fiction film with the surprise ending everybody knows. Edward G. Robinson, a close friend of Heston’s, was dying from cancer during the film, making the famous scene where his character opts for assisted suicide at a government euthanasia center all the more heartbreaking and touching. Robinson died in January of 1973, before the film's release; later that year, the Academy recognized his lifetime devotion to his craft with a posthumous Honorary Award.

Honorable mentions: Barbary Coast (1935), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945),The Stranger (1946), House of Strangers (1949), The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

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