Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Double the Indemnity, double the fun!

So, the most recent AFI movie I watched was Double Indemnity. A 1944 film about an insurance salesman that gets conned into killing the husband of a woman he falls in love with. I have a lot of thoughts about this movie.

First of all. Wtf? So, we have or protag, Walter, that pays a house call to the Dietrichson house to renew an insurance policy. Mr. Dietrichson isn’t there so he speaks to his wife, Phyllis. Immediately upon meeting this (married) woman Walter is making creepy come ons and insinuations. They spend a total of maybe 5 minutes together which is apparently enough for Walter to fall ass over teakettle for this woman. I’ve had longer conversations with the barista at Starbucks.

So, Phyllis arranges for Walter to come by a few days later, conveniently on a day when neither her husband nor the maid are around. She brings up killing her husband without actually bringing it up and Walter is smart enough to out of there. Of course, the damsel ends up at Walter’s later that night spinning a tale of woe that’s less woe and more zzzz.

Her husband neglects her, they no longer have a lot of money, he works all the time, sometimes he slaps her when he gets drunk. She has a step daughter that doesn’t respect her. All these things add up to divorce, sure, but not murder.

Anyway, Walter is in a mad boner rage and eventually agrees to this terrible life choice. Where was *his* sassy gay friend? Oh, right. 1944. Gays didn’t exist yet. Have I mentioned the fact that the two leads have basically zero chemistry? Because they totally don’t. ALSO. When they kiss they just mash their mouths together. It’s like the director told them to high five but right before the cameras rolled he screamed out “BUT DO IT WITH YOUR MOUTHS” and the actors were like did he just say high five with our mouths? And the director was like “DO IT OR THE REST OF THE MOVIE WILL USE SOCK PUPPETS.” And so they did and this is what happened.

Is that just how they kissed in movies back then? I mean they seriously just smooshed their mouths together for about 10 seconds. Was French kissing against standards and practices back then? I might have to look this up. Where was I? Right. SO.

He agrees to this tremendously stupid decision and wow he ends up paying for it later. I got side tracked by my tangent and now I’m not sure what to say. Why is this #29 on the list? I’m going to go read Roger Ebert’s review and see what he has to say. I’ll play some hold music while I’m gone.

*Plays Baby Come Back* Ebert also points out and notices that there is a distinct lack of passion between the two. Is this intentional? He gives the movie 4 stars but recognizes that it’s less a movie about a man killing for love and money and more a movie about a man killing because the plot dictates that he do so. Almost as if it’s a parody of genre films before the genre became a parody of itself. Does that make any sense? Probably not. But neither did anything the characters did.

I really feel as if I missed something with this one. I like the film noir genre. I like smart quips and quick comebacks. I like murder plots and complications and things that don’t go as they should so why don’t I like this one? I love most of everything Hitchcock ever did which is nothing but tales of bad deeds done by good people for the wrong reasons gone awry.


design by