Later, while leaving the club, he once again stops to admire the painting when he is then surprised to meet the subject of the painting herself, Alice Reed, played by Joan Bennett. Wanley agrees to get a drink with Alice, thinking that he will have something fun to share with his friends the next evening but he soon finds himself at her home. Not long after that, her lover comes in, furious and violent. Wanley ends up killing him, and he and Alice work out a plan to cover up the murder.
A lot of the movie shows Wanley trying to live with his guilt and trying to cover his tracks, as his own friends, the District Attorney, and the doctor, investigate the case and come ever closer to finding the culprit. At the same time, a blackmailer, played by Dan Duryea, is tormenting Alice with his knowledge of what really went down.
Fritz Lang's very next film, Scarlet Street, explores some of the same themes of midlife restlessness, and of the nature of guilt. It essentially has the same cast as the previous movie and this time around, Robinson plays Christopher Cross, a timid, middle aged bank cashier in a loveless marriage whose true passion is painting. At a celebration honoring his long years with the bank, he jealously watches his boss leave the party with a young mistress. Walking home that night, he witnesses what he believes to be a mugging. Running off the mugger, he takes the victim, Kitty, played by Bennett, for a drink. Smitten with her, he tells her about his aspirations as a painter.
If you're in the mood for a good Film Noir double feature, you could do worse than these two movies. They play great as companion pieces to each other, and seeing Edward G. Robinson playing against the type he's come to be synonymous with is really fun. And Joan Bennett never disappoints, in my opinion.