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Monday, August 15, 2011

Double Indemnity

See the entry for this movie at the IMDB:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036775/
Last night we went to see Double Indemnity at The Heights. This is a classic film noir study of betrayal, counter-betrayal and murder featuring Fred MacMurray, Babara Stanwyck and Edward G. Bobinson.

The dialogue was snappy, if dated in places, but then when you have Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler co-writing the script, it's hard to go wrong.

The one really peculiar, almost Lovecraftian aspect to this movie that really stood out, but didn't ruin it by any means, was the main character's use of a dictaphone to record his confession...it was just like one of those terrible instances in HPL's fiction where the intrepid investigator into the unknown pauses to fill out his journal, complete with the Monty Python-esque 'Aaarrgghh!' at the end.

But this wasn't a hard-boiled re-telling ofThe Diary of Alonzo Typer, by any means.

Thankfully.

Of course, if the femme fatale character that Barbara Stanwyck played had been swapped-out with Lavinia Whateley, well, that would have taken things in an entirely different direction...one that would be a great deal of fun to see explored.

Film Noir and Lovecraft go together really, really well. The Trail of Cthulhu rpg seems to lend itself to exactly this sort of mash-up. We're seriously considering picking it up and running a game or two of crack-pot film noir inspired eldritch madness...

6 comments:

  1. Love the Heights, that's such a great theater!

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  2. @Jay: Absolutely! We go there regularly and often as they tend to show great stuff like Forbidden Planet, The Apartment, etc. The Trylon is also a lot of fun. We saw Burt Lancaster's The Crimson Pirate there...

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  3. A great film. I wish there was a place to see old movies (or art house fare for that matter) in this two-bit town.

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  4. The best part about Double Indemnity comes when you realize that the real love story isn't between McMurray and Stanwyck, but between McMurray and Robinson. "Closer than that, Walter."

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  5. @Trey: We say our thanks every time we get to go to The Heights. Maybe you can stop-over in this part of the world sometime in the course of your globe-trotting. They'll be playing Some Like it Hot fairly soon...

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  6. @Rob Barrett: You are so very on the money. The whole 'Straight Down the Line' bit was also kind of funny, but it was clear that Robinson and MacMurray's characters had a rapport that you rarely see in movies, between any two characters.

    The littlest things can have a big impact--like when Robinson snaps the match for MacMurray at the end of the movie, the first time in the whole movie that he wasn't having MacMurray do it for him instead. That was a nice touch.

    And Wow, does Barbara Stanwyck play a psychopath! The revelation that she killed the first wife was bad enough, but her little performance after shooting Neff in the shoulder...that was some seriously cold-hearted stuff. Incredible. Truly one of the best film Noir movies we've gotten a chance to see over at The Heights.

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