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Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

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Rita Hayworth
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Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Rita Hayworth » August 5th, 2011, 1:59 pm

Double Indemnity - 1944 Film

Starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson.
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I saw this movie on Retroplex today and this is one of my favorite Film Noirs because there is so many twisted plots in this movie that I find it to be so cleverly written that I enjoyed every minute of the great dialogue between the three stars above. To me, I find the pairing of MacMurray and Stanwyck to be an odd pairing in this wonderful film they seems to blend each other just beautifully, so twisted, and so diabolically insane that I loved every minute of this movie. I haven't seen this movie in years and I'm glad that I caught this movie by accident today! I'm :D for it :!:

To me, the real star of this movie is Edward G. Robinson as Barton Keyes that does not buy the story behind the death of Mr. Dietrichson that he convinced everyone that this is a set-up done by another man that he tries so hard to put a finger on it - so at the end he finally got all the "facts" behind the suspicious death of Phyllis (played by Stanwyck) Dietrichson's husband.

This is one neat Film Noir ... one thing that I don't like about this movie is that Barbara Stanwyck wore an ill-fitting blonde wig in this movie ... on television its looks like her hair has been bleached white and gave it a nasty effect that I didn't care for. Maybe members here ... might have the same feelings that I do; but I wished that they hadn't done that in the first place.

This is must see movie and this is one of Fred MacMurray's better performances as an actor and I was surprised that their wasn't a thread devoted to this wonderful movie that was released back in 1944. But, I would definitely give this movie a solid 4 stars rating because the movie is well written, good fast pace, good photography, and most of all excellent acting by all supporting characters especially Jean Heather who played Lola Dietrichson ... Phyllis's sister in the movie and Porter Hall as Mr. Jackson.

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JackFavell
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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby JackFavell » August 5th, 2011, 2:34 pm

Thanks for mentioning Porter Hall, an actor who is unjustly neglected most of the time, but who adds a great deal of texture to the films he was in.

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby knitwit45 » August 5th, 2011, 3:02 pm

Looking at a picture of Porter Hall, I immediately thought....DOBBY!

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JackFavell
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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby JackFavell » August 5th, 2011, 3:14 pm

Ha!

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Rita Hayworth » August 5th, 2011, 4:22 pm

JackFavell wrote:Thanks for mentioning Porter Hall, an actor who is unjustly neglected most of the time, but who adds a great deal of texture to the films he was in.


Jack Favell - You are absolutely right! I love him in these following movies:

Porter Hall Movies that I seen in my lifetime ...
1. The Thin Man as Herbert MacCaulay - 1934
2. The Petrified Forest as Jason Maple - 1936
3. His Girl Friday as Murphy - 1940
4. Dark Command as Angus McCloud - 1940
5. A Stranger in Town as Judge Austin Harkley - 1943
6. Standing Room Only as Hugo Farnhall - 1944
7. The Great Moment as President Franklin Pierce - 1944
8. Murder He Says as Mr. Johnson - 1945
9. Miracle on 34th Street as Granville Sawyer - 1947
10. The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend as Judge O'Toole - 1949
11. Pony Express as Jim Bridger - 1953

and of course as Mr. Jackson in this classic film noir ... he is one of my favorites too & I do find him unjustly neglected because I consider him an excellent veteran actor that can make a good movie even better. He has the knack of doing so and believe me ...he is a true veteran in the film industry.

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby JackFavell » August 5th, 2011, 4:51 pm

Great choices!

I like him best as Jacob Q. Boot, newspaperman Kirk Douglas' small town boss in Ace in the Hole.

Tell me, do you have a favorite part of Double Indemnity? I personally like the voice over narration, and the way it leads to the ending with the dictaphone. And of course, Edward G. Robinson's always searching for a match.

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Rita Hayworth » August 5th, 2011, 5:48 pm

JackFavell wrote:Great choices!

I like him best as Jacob Q. Boot, newspaperman Kirk Douglas' small town boss in Ace in the Hole.

Tell me, do you have a favorite part of Double Indemnity? I personally like the voice over narration, and the way it leads to the ending with the dictaphone. And of course, Edward G. Robinson's always searching for a match.


Actually, its three mini-parts of which MacMurray & Stanywck in a Mom & Pop Grocery Store trying to iron out the details of getting rid of Mr. Dietrichson (played by Tom Powers) so that he can be killed on a untimely death on a train-track so that they can collect double the amount of the life insurance policy that Phyllis Dietrichson (played by Stanywck) signed up for.

Why I like that?

Because of the plot and counter-plot involved in and off course secretive meetings in secluded places - most impressive was when they were in the forest way high up overlooking the Hollywood Bowl is really cool. That alone makes it a great film!

To me, that's the most coolest Film Noir settings that I ever seen ... being so secretive in that moment ... the heat is on and its turns out disastrous for both Neff and Dietrichson. That scene came on at a total surprise to me ... to me its a treat using the Hollywood Bowl as a backdrop for this classic film noir that came out in 1944.

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby JackFavell » August 5th, 2011, 8:03 pm

That's a great scene, kingme! Usually you see the Hollywood Bowl used as a backdrop for comic action, as in the 1937 A Star is Born, or in musicals with Jose Iturbi.

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Gary J. » August 6th, 2011, 1:28 am

The odd pairing of MacMurray and Stanwyck that Kingme talks about was Wilder's topper with putting this classic together. We've all read about how he had to work on MacMurray to convince him that taking this role was a good career move, but it was also the first time that Stanwyck played an unadulterated murderess - but definitely would not be her last. Try juxtapose this film with their earlier pairing in REMEMBER THE NIGHT (40) and you'll run the gamut from a couple who are charmingly sentimental to coldly calculating. These people need to see a shrink.

And it seemed to start a trend in film noir of casting formerly sweet young things as the main temptresses - MURDER, MY SWEET (44) - Claire Trevor, POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (46) - Lana Turner, OUT OF THE PAST (47) - Jane Greer, PAT AND MIKE (52) - Katharine Hepburn.........Alright! I'm out of examples.
But I suppose we could look even earlier to Mary Astor's conniving turn in MALTESE FALCON (40) as the template BUT since that film was made before the war it cannot be labeled noir since we all know that, along with the other 150 ground rules that a film must adhere to in order to qualify as film noir, the characters must suffer from disillusionment that can only come from surviving a world war (....or from a career as a CPA).
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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby RedRiver » August 6th, 2011, 4:13 pm

I can't believe I'm being drawn into the "Is It Noir or is It Memorex" debate, but MALTESE FALCON is pretty darned close. It's dark in mood, though the flip dialogue does provide some light moments. The breakneck pace serves the movie beautifully. Does it detract from the contemplative anguish that so often defines the genre? The good guys are pretty shady. The villains diabolical. There's no fall from grace. There's no grace to fall from!

If there's such a thing as pure noir, DOUBLE INDEMNITY deserves the label. OUT OF THE PAST is the ultimate example. DETOUR? Beyond question. But I count "borderline" crime films such as "Falcon," THE GLASS KEY and THIS GUN FOR HIRE. They may lack some of the qualifications. But they cross the finish line in fine style!

My apologies to the many, MANY posters who have encouraged participation in this discussion on other message boards. I have traditionally shied away from this infuriatingly grey area. Today, I just happen to be inspired!

Heaven help us!

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby ChiO » August 7th, 2011, 4:38 pm

Gary J & RedRiver --

I just knew there was some "What Is Noir?" foolishness somewhere. http://silverscreenoasis.com/oasis3/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2316
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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Dewey1960 » August 8th, 2011, 10:40 am

GaryJ wrote:
But I suppose we could look even earlier to Mary Astor's conniving turn in MALTESE FALCON (40) as the template BUT since that film was made before the war it cannot be labeled noir since we all know that, along with the other 150 ground rules that a film must adhere to in order to qualify as film noir, the characters must suffer from disillusionment that can only come from surviving a world war.

In truth, THE MALTESE FALCON was released into theaters in late October 1941, a mere six weeks before Pearl Harbor, but two years after the war erupted in Europe--home to many of the finest directors and writers, many of whom would emigrate to America in order to continue their careers without fear of persecution (until, of course after the War when the communist witch hunts decimated a number of Hollywood careers; but that's another story altogether). 1941 is often singled out as the year noir films first appeared on American movie screens, but further study has pointed to 1940 as a more meaningful starting point, given the release of RKO's STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR, an audacious B film (directed by European emigre Boris Ingster), that makes the FALCON and many other higher profile films from that early period seem visually and thematically tame by comparison.
The dream sequence from STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPCDR1UXt24[/youtube]

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Gary J. » August 8th, 2011, 3:01 pm

I always felt that sequence ran way too long to be effective.

I was being facetious with my earlier comment about "the rules of film noir" but I will, never the less, stand by it.
Hollywood films as a rule became darker during and after WWII. Censorship eased because Hollywood was doing their 'patriotic duty' by promoting Gov't propaganda within every single studio release during those years - all for the good of the war effort. And after suffering through the loss of human toll that the war brought to pretty much every household, not to mention world wide consequences involving the Holocaust and the rise of the Soviets as a new world power - well, disillusionment was bound to creep into the national psyche concerning the world we once knew.

Film Noir unconsciously absorbed all of those factors into our genres of cop dramas and our private eye flicks and within a few years our mean streets became meaner, more violent and much more arty - with lights and shadows used to depict the angsts of our movie heroes. Those heroes were no longer typical straight arrows. They all carried emotional baggage with them and were much more ambivalent on screen. They needed to be because the evil they confronted was magnified ten-fold, with large doses of megalomania tossed in. Basically, no one could be trusted. Especially the women! I don't know what that says about society back then but the 'duplicitous woman' became a hallmark of noir, which is how this all wandered into the conversation about DOUBLE INDEMNITY.

As with every film genre or movement there are always earlier examples of where those techniques were first used. The Industry is too vast and creative not to find someone experimenting with different ways to tell a story. There had always been examples of wacky romantic comedies coming out of Hollywood going back to the silents but it took years of the Great Depression and the prevailing attitude of 'soak the rich' that formed the basis of the great screwball comedies of the mid-30's. And so too it took a great war and it's aftermath to help create the climate that brought us the nihilistic viewpoints of the equally terrific film noirs of the mid-40's and beyond.
Last edited by Gary J. on August 8th, 2011, 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Dewey1960 » August 8th, 2011, 4:41 pm

Gary, my post was in response to your specific reference to THE MALTESE FALCON and its proximity to the outbreak of World War II, not whether or not we should adhere to a set of arbitrary rules governing film noir. (Although I’m not exactly sure what you mean when you say that you’re being factitious about your comment regarding these rules on the one hand, and that you “never the less stand by it” on the other hand.) In any event, it's always nice to talk about film noir!

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Re: Double Indemnity - 1944 Film Noir Classic

Postby Gary J. » August 8th, 2011, 6:24 pm

I'm not sure myself what I meant by 'factitious' since i have no idea what that means.

I meant to say facetious....
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