Thursday, February 23, 2012

Movie Time! 'Double Indemnity'

"Smitten insurance man Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) plots the perfect murder with femme fatale client Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck): staging her husband's 'accidental' death to collect double indemnity on his life insurance and absconding with the loot.  But before their scheme can pay off, the lethal duo must first get past a crafty claims investigator (Edward G. Robinson) who senses something isn't kosher."

I'm currently taking a Literature and Film class, so I'll be posting more informed movie reviews (I hope!).  Lately, we've been learning about Film Noir.  This particular Noir film is one that I found more charming, compared with the film that I'm reviewing on Saturday called 'Blood Simple.'  While it is charming (referring to the classic 40's movie with the beautiful women that look similar enough to be twins), it is also a very good example of the typical Film Noir format: a crime, a femme fatale (essentially, a woman who uses her sexuality to get what she wants), rain, and murder.

I found the initial level of flirtation between Phyllis and Walter really uncomfortable.  One look was all it took.  There was so much sexual tension that you could cut it with a knife and still not reach the other side.  I'm not bothered by sexuality of any kind in a movie, but what made it so uncomfortable was the fact that everything moved forward so quickly between them.  Walter and Phyllis haven't known each other a week and they're already plotting to kill Phyllis' husband.

The crime part was excellent.  The way they executed the murder (what a violent sentence) and covered everything up was good-- using the train, etc.

This movie was quite clever.  The title makes sense as they delve into the insurance side of the movie.  This was quite admirable.

I liked how the characters started at the end and basically retold their story from the beginning.  It was an effective way to tell the story.

The ending was very satisfying-- I won't divulge it here, because maybe you'll be able to predict it, but if you can't, it's good.

This movie is good if you're interested in watching a not-so-violent, classic, crime film.

Thanks for reading!


P.S.  Has anyone else noticed that Barbara Stanwyck doesn't really move her teeth or mouth when she talks in this film?  Ugh... that really distracted me...

1 comment:

  1. I love this movie although I love pretty much everything I've seen from Billy Wilder. Your post reminds me that I wouldn't mind rewatching this soon if I can find it on TV some time.


I love your comments! Comment away!