Double indemnity

         The setting of this Noir themed film was perfect which was an extreme dark intro which took place in LA , you see cars, men in trench coats and hats. Doing the reading on women in noir made me more aware of the character Phyllis. As the movie progresses I owuld definetly classify Phyllis as a “spider woman” because she uses her charm and sex appeal to trap men into her web.  When Walter first met her in her home, she was wearing a robe. She left to go change and if you notice as she returns she is still buttoning up her shirt in his presence and proceeds to put lipstick on in the mirror. This seemed to show a sexual demeanor giving Walter somehting to work with as far as flirting.  When walter returns to her home the second time there is a camera close up on her  bare legs as she comes down stairs. These scenes display the lead up to the  adultry because she is married. Phyliss is also suggestive in the beginning with lines like “be nice to me like the 1st time you came in my house”.

       There are also some key patterns in this film. During the course of the film pertaining to the scheme of killing Phyllis husband, she would always repeat to walter “straight down the line”. I interpreted the line as her saying we will finish this whole ordeal together and thats her way of keeping Walter hooked in. Another pattern is the shadows casted by the window blinds. A few scene examples was when Walter first met Phyllis and they was in the room, scenes with Walter and Keyes in the office, and when Lola (daughter)spoke with Walter in his office.  The biggest pattern which was in several scenes was that every time Walter and Keyes would depart from each other , Walter would light Keyes  cigar for him and it owuld never fail. Which made the ending pop even more when Keyes lite Walters ciggarette. It was a great ending because it is a symbolic point of their relationship.

      I liked how the story was a narrative explanation to Keyes  and how the beginning basically is the same scene as the end. In the beginning i did notice that Walter was speaking as he was telling the story , but when the movie reaches the end you realize it is because he was shot the whole narrative. A funny moment to me was that while Phyliss and Walter planned this murder and wanted to be discreet and not seen together, they would meet @ the super market. Super markets are very public places , and those shades Phyliss had on for the 2nd meet looked suspicious. Although you dont get to exactly see Walter kill the husband, I thought the shot of Phyliss face the whole time during it was effective. Her face showed a lack of emotion and as it progressed it slowly started to look more cynical in the eyes..

        The film was enjoyable and I enjoyed how it shows the details of what had to be done to plan this murder sufficiently. The way the story unfolded went well to me and was easy enough to follow and keep the attention of the audience. The actress who played lady eve did a great job as the spider woman role in this film, lady eve had spider woman tendencies aswell now that I think of it. Oh and FYI indemnity means “protection, as by insurance, from liabilities or penalties incurred by one’s actions.” which makes sense for the film which deals with insurance fraud.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “Double indemnity

  1. Great call on the patterns, especially the lights coming from the shutters. The horizontal lines hit the characters, appearing like bars on their faces and bodies. I saw it as a representation of the characters’ metaphorical prison and so it was really powerful when Wilder utilized this pattern. Also interesting to note when he emphasized it on character over another.

  2. The supermarket scene is quite famous and looking back on it now, they seemed to stand out by trying too hard to be inconspicuous. I mean, who stands next to another person for so long without looking them in the face? I loved the ending too when Keyes lights Walter’s cigarette, quite powerful. It feels like for the first time Keyes has control over the situation.

  3. I agree with what you say about the narration of the story by Neff. I think that the first person narrative are essential for the Double Indemnity and for Film Noir in general. It brings more details, but at the same time more darkness and secrecy to the movie. We hear Neff almost whisper the story to us and we unconciously pay greater attention to what he says.
    Also, I agree that whenever Phyllis speaks her speech is very suggestive and seductive. Her verbal and nonverbal comunication with Neff completely fullfils each other and it brings a lot of meaning to the scene.

  4. I love that you called her Spider Woman because if I had a word for her that would be it. She is sexy, sneaky as a black widow spider. She really carries the whole movie on her impulsive sexual appearance promiscuous attitude towards marriage and charismatic behavior almost as a villain. Nice post

Comments are closed.