Monday, April 12, 2010

#92 Double Indemnity: Ten times twice as dangerous

1944. dir. Billy Wilder, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson.

Seen it before? No.

You know, it's amazing how many of these movies have been parodied or referenced somehow on The Simpsons. This blog could be 95% Simpsons references if I didn't restrain myself. Stealing, stealing, stealing a car for Moe...

Mild-mannered insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) goes out to visit his client Mr. Dietrichson to renew some car insurance policies. He's not home, but his wife (Barbara Stanwyck, with a terrible blonde wig) is; he gets infatuated with her. Actually this part of the movie is pretty funny. If you were an insurance salesman back in the 40's, would you really go around drinking on the job and openly propositioning your clients? Sounds like fun. I think it's hilarious that the part of her that he's the most attracted to is her ankle. I guess that's the Hays code for you.

Anyway and the two of them hatch a plan to take out an insurance policy on Mr. Dietrichson and then murder him. The plan they come up with is actually pretty good, and it does fool the police. Unfortunately for them, Neff's coworker at the insurance company is Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson), who is a total genius and has a knack for sniffing out suspicious claims. I wish he could have been in the movie more, because I love it when movies show intelligent characters.

So it's your basic Hitchcock-esque suspense movie, kind of like Dial M For Murder. Highly recommended if you like film noir.

Position on the list: 57
And here's a weird coincidence: Miklos Rosza did the score for this and the previous movie, Ben Hur. That score was epic... this one was OK I guess.

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