Wanita Wednesdays: “Double Indemnity”

From special guest writer Wanita.

After taking an introductory film class, Wanita wished to contribute a little of what she learned. Therefore, every Wednesday until the end of January, Wanita will be talking about a specific aspect of filmmaking or a film she enjoyed, i.e. Wanita Wednesdays! This week: classic film noir “Double Indemnity”.

double indemnity

I enjoyed watching “Double Indemnity”, it was my first film noir and although it was corny, it was like a guilty pleasure. I love watching old movies; I have a fondness for Audrey Hepburn films and others of that era. However, I do know that to watch a movie from a different culture of period, like film noir, or movies from the 50s and 60s, they have to think back to how people were back then.

When the characteristics of film noir were described in class, I automatically thought of “Dick Tracy”, which I saw many years ago. But the thought of this detective put that image into my head. Then, after looking it up to refresh my memory, I realised that Dick Tracy movies date back to 1939, so it could be classified as film noir. I remember that the most recent movie had the detective, Dick Tracy, and the bad guys, the mob, along with the femme fatale, played by Madonna. I think comparing the two movies has shown me that there is a formula for film noit, where these elements are essential.

In “Double Indemnity”, the classic characteristics were clearly visible. However, I wondered how anyone could be conned into doing something so wrong, especially someone in the insurance business. Even though Walter was an insurance sales man, he did have an idea of how people conned people in the insurance business. I would think he would see he was being conned. That makes me wonder why film noir makes the men so weak, such that they could fall under the direct influence of a woman.

LAST DETAILS: “Double Indemnity” (1944) directed by Billy Wilder, written by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler, based on the novel Double Indemnity by James M. Cain, starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson.


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