Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Double Indemnity (1944)

IMDB Rating: 8.5 / 10
Runtime: 105 mins
Language: English
Country: USA
Color: Black & White

Director: Billy Wilder
Fred MacMurray ... Walter Neff
Barbara Stanwyck ... Phyllis Dietrichson
Edward G. Robinson ... Barton Keyes
Porter Hall ... Mr. Jackson
Jean Heather ... Lola Dietrichson
Tom Powers ... Mr. Dietrichson
Byron Barr ... Nino Zachetti
Richard Gaines ... Edward S. Norton, Jr.
Fortunio Bonanova ... Sam Garlopis
John Philliber ... Joe Peters

Okay...here's how I catalog my movies. When I get a movie, I generally put it under the name of the big actor I know in the movie.
For example, if I get a movie which features say...Errol Flynn and 3 other people smaller in stature than him, the movie goes into the Errol Flynn folder and the other 3 people, if they're important/big enough, get mentioned beside him in the file.

When I got this movie and saw Edward G.Robinson in it, I initially slotted it into his folder and in brackets I wrote (With Barbara Stanwyck). To me Fred MacMurray was a small time actor. I mean I've seen him in a couple of movies  before this, but he was not a BIG name so he didn't even get a mention in the file name.
Here are my errors.
a)Fred MacMurray is one of the MAIN actors in the movie.
b)Edward G.Robinson plays an important character in the movie, but he by no means has the lead role.
c)Barbara Stanwyck IS the star!!!

I cannot tell you anything important about the movie because it'll spoil it for you and this is one that you need to see to realize the brilliance of Billy Wilder films, but I'll give you this much.
Fred's an insurance salesman...a really good one. Edward's the guy who rejects or approves the claims filed at the insurance company. He's really shrewd and has a knack for spotting the fraudulent claims.
And Barbara...well she's the abused and depressed wife, then a seductress, then a schemer and finally ...a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.
Damn! I think I gave away a bit too much.

But you know what, even if you're super-intelligent-Einstein-rocket scientist who's figured out the whole shabang...watch the movie.
Why? To see Barbara Stanwyck!!!
That's why!

She is astounding. I'd seen her in a couple of movies and had read that she's very highly regarded. I remember seeing her as a supporting actress of sorts in an Elvis movie. Which movie was that...ummm...I think it was Roustabout (where Elvis plays ...a roustabout :)
Yeah, so the point it...there she's older and not that important. So I didn't really get why she was "All that".
But you see her in this and you know right away!
Man! That woman could get you to do stuff you wouldn't ordinarily do if there was a millyun bucks on the line!
She's not the classic beauty that Marilyn Monroe or say Jane Russel or Ingrid Bergman was...but she was a beauty for sure. She has her own kind of smouldering thing going on for her and from the very first scene in the movie where you see her draped in just a towel, she has you! She has you as sure as Tom had Renee in Jerry M.

Enough praises of Ms.S. now what? Let's move on to Fred shall we?

I love his dialogue delivery baby...almost as much as I love Edward G.Robinson's. Its inimitable and so unique. You know it when you hear their voices. Like Cagney's or Bogart's. Absolutely brilliant.

And then there's Mr.Wilder. How can we forget him. This was the third movie of his I've seen in as many days where I've seen a certain facet of his story telling style. He likes to narrate stuff. He's got one of the characters in the movie taking us through what's going on and he does it oh so well.
It doesn't seem corny or weird. It seems perfectly natural that there should be a voice that stands above what is going on guiding us through the web that he weaves.
Wonder if he sees himself in the narrator's place in the movies. Maybe that's his way of "staying in" the films that he made...somewhat like Hitchcock and Stan Lee do :)

Brilliant job sir! Full marks to you. On all aspects. Loved the scenes, the story telling, the acting and you and your presence...taking us through the story.
Great job indeed!

The Moviemania Rating: I'll have to rate this one 8/10. It's a little lesser than the first two movies for just one reason. The story, though gripping could have been a little better. I don't know how, I just know that there could be more to this one story-wise. But other than that, it's top notch all the way.
You may think that we've had 3 movies so far and all of them have had a rating of 8+
My thinking is, why watch a movie or spend time writing about it if it's not really good! :)
I'm not saying that I may not watch an occasional stinker...but looking at what's lined up, expect a few more 8+ movies in the weeks to come :)
Right ho! Off to bed now :) Good night! (or morning! Its 4 frikkin am!)


sayid islam December 20, 2009 at 9:06 AM  

amazing movie dude!! one of my fav film noir classics :) a real golden hollywood classic.

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