Sunday, March 16, 2008

Double Indemnity (1944)


Fred MacMurray is Walter Neff, a slick talking insurance salesman in LA. When he stops by the home of a Mr. Dietrichson to speak with him about his auto insurance he meets the femme fatale of the picture Mrs. Phyllis Dietrichson played by Barbara Stanwyck. Mrs. Dietrichson is very eager to talk to Walter about accident insurance on her husband, who is an oilman, which she considers to be very dangerous work. Mrs. Dietrichson seems very concerned about her husband's well being, but all Walter seems concerned with is Mrs. Dietrichson. The more Phyllis talks to Walter about this accident insurance for her husband, the more Walter sees that she just wants to kill him and collect the money. He tries to explain to her that she doesn't stand a chance, she'll got caught and she'll get the chair; but she really seems to have taken a hold on him. The next day when she comes to deliver his hat to his apartment, Walter realizes that he loves her and offers to kill her husband so they can take the money and run away together. Since Walter is in the insurance business he knows exactly how to do it so they won't get caught. It must be done on a train, so they can collect double indemnity on the insurance. And they must work together to do it. It has to be absolutely perfect. After the dirty deed is done, everything seemed to be going swimmingly. The claims investigator Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) who has caught every phony claim to come his way in 26 years doesn't suspect a thing. The head of the company suspects suicide, but Keyes sets him straight. However the smooth sailing doesn't last long, choppy waters are ahead. All of the sudden it doesn't sit right with Keyes. He knows it was murder, he knows it was two people, and he knows one of them was Phyllis Dietrichson. Double Indemnity is a superb film noir, with a great story of seduction, murder and deception. The film has great performances by Stanwyck, MacMurray and Robinson with a good performance by Jean Heather as Mr. Dietrichson's daughter Lola. A must see film for film noir fans especially, but worth seeing by anyone else who can appreciate good cinema. Overall 3.5/4 Stars Grade = B+

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