Double Indemnity

Filed under: Movie Viewing — emodjsteph at 6:21 pm on Thursday, October 6, 2011

I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this movie (as seems to be the pattern in this class). I knew very little about film noir as a genre other than the intense amount of shadows but like other black and white films, I just assumed I wouldn’t enjoy it. In regards to the plot, the pacing and the dialogue, I found the movie easy enough to follow and comprehend which made it enjoyable and I really liked Barbara Stanwyck’s performance.

I found it more difficult to take as many notes as usual because I was mostly caught in in following the plot while watching it, but the few notes I made were on different uses of symbolism. After Walter tells Phyllis he’ll help her with her husband, the rug is messed up and Walter fixes it with his foot. This could symbolize his wanting to fix her problems and the subtly they need to kill her husband with. If someone tripped over a messed up rug, it would be obvious and messy – how she would kill her husband. Walter knows better and knows that they would have to be a lot more discrete.

Throughout the movie, Walter always has a match ready and lights it for other people and himself, which I felt showed his confidence in always having the solution to any problem. Even towards the end when things are starting to crumble in his plan, he still lights matches for people, trying to keep his control.

Lastly, in a scene where the two of them are discussing Phyllis’ husband and they acknowledge him as ‘the wall between them’, the open door is between them as a physical symbol of this as it separates them like they claim her husband is.

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October 13, 2011 @ 11:30 AM

Stephanie, I like your review of this movie and specially your attention to detail. I also enjoyed the movie and the shadowy world these characters have created for themselves, literally. The Director uses film noir to emphasize this cynical dark world, that is, the use of shadows and light contrasts.
It is easy to forget that we are seeing the story of two bad persons that commit a crime to obtain their goals. Unfortunately a bad person has a tendency to behave badly and even if they may behave well sometimes, the danger is that they will go back to be themselves gain at any moment. This is what happened to Phyllis as she played with Walter to help her to kill her husband. Obviously, Walter was no saint, and ended up killing Phyllis also.

I agree with you about Barbara Stanwyck, who as usual, plays a devilish woman and she does it really well. I enjoy her movies. Fred Mac Murray plays his character well also but h he is no match for Barbara Stanwyck who is the soul of the movie.

I enjoyed reading your review.




October 18, 2011 @ 2:20 PM

Your references of symbolism are interesting and provide strong details to your post. The fixing of the rug and lighting the matches relate to Walter’s responsibilities as an insurance agent who is supposed to provide coverage and support. It is also interesting that at the end of the film Walter has a cigarette lit for him, symbolizing his end.



December 16, 2011 @ 10:12 PM

Stephanie I felt the same way about this film when I first heard we were watching it. These type of early 1940’s film noir’s aren’t really my cup of tea but I enjoyed it as well. Good work and I liked your observation with the rug it was a great point.

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