Classic Movie Impressions: Double Indemnity

Recently, Lisa from Boondock Ramblings asked if I would be interested in recommending old, classic movies to each other and I was on board 100%! I love a good classic movie, especially film noir and musicals, but there are so many out there that I haven’t seen yet.

Our chat sort of turned into the two of us talking about our classic celebrity crushes as well – Paul Newman for Lisa, (young) Marlon Brando for me. If you need a reminder of the beauty of a young Brando, check this page out.. Anyway, this led me to suggesting Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Lisa. Lisa recommended Double Indemnity to me, and on Saturday I watched it.

Billy was camping over the past weekend, and I was looking forward to a weekend of classic movie watching after Wyatt went to bed. On Friday I watched Key Largo, which I had I already planned to watch. Key Largo is one I have seen before but I love it. Then Saturday, I settled down with my snacks and my glass of wine and entered the world of Double Indemnity.

And here I thought the world of insurance was boring!

I don’t even know where to begin! I was completely sucked in to this movie, with its quiet malevolence and danger, sexual attraction, secrets and shadows. The cast was stellar, and Barbara Stanwyck is the ultimate femme fatale, slinking about, smoking and smoldering, while MacMurray is the classic stalwart, loyal, good guy – well, at least for some of the movie.

The movie starts with a confession, which sets up the rest of the movie.

It all begins when MacMurray, playing Insurance salesman Walter Neff, meets the blonde bombshell Phyllis Dietrichson, portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck. All he wanted to do was update their auto insurance, but found himself going down some dark roads to his eventual end. He stops by the Dietrichson house to find Mr. Dietrichson not at home – but his beautiful wife Phyllis is. She inquires about an accidental insurance policy on her husband, and whether she can place one on him without his knowledge. Neff picks up what she is laying down, and is not interested. However, she shows up at his house later and Neff can’t resist his attraction to her. From there, a nefarious plan is born.

This movie took some complex turns – Neff knew all the intricacies that would be examined and made sure to dot his i’s and cross his t’s. Or so he thought. Neff’s friend, Barton Keyes, an insurance investigator, begins to be suspicious of the whole situation, and launches an investigation. Keyes is played by Edward G. Robinson, who played Johnny Rocco in Key Largo which I watched the night before. It was kind of crazy to see him go from villain to hero!

I don’t want to give too many spoilers or giveaway the ending, so.. I will end my bit of a summary here.

Overall, I loved this movie! I loved the way it looked, the shadows and darkness, the fashion, the complexity, the smart and clever repartee, although Neff calls Dietrichson “baby” so often it sort of made me crazy. But, despite the roller coaster ride that was Neff and Dietrichson, it was the end scene between Robinson and MacMurray that was my favorite scene in the movie. And you will just have to watch the movie if you want to know more!


12 thoughts on “Classic Movie Impressions: Double Indemnity

  1. This film i brilliant and it holds up almost without change (right “Baby”?!) I think the black and white adds to it tremendously. Did you see Body Heat (William Hurt/Kathleen Turner)? It’s basically a remake with some changes and it’s very good — but I prefer this one. It’s as solid as they come.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, I’m going to tell you right now I didn’t read your summary of the film because now I want to watch it! Two of my favorite classic films are “Sunset Boulevard” and “Some Like It Hot” and almost anything with Bette Davis in it! Are you going to make this a regular feature on your blog? I would love that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Classic Movie Impression: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (with spoilers) | Boondock Ramblings

  4. Pingback: Classic Movie Impressions: Blue Hawaii | Boondock Ramblings

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