Double Indemnity (1944)

“No pigeons, I hope.”

“Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Four shots ripped into my groin and I was off on the greatest adventure of my life!”

Casually act?
“Act casually…”

OK, that second quote isn’t from Double Indemnity but Sleep Till Noon, a comedic novel by Max Shulman. I think we all felt the movie held up well on a second viewing, with the last viewing being almost exactly two years ago. We had to drive down to Pasadena for this one, and this was the follow-up to Laura. I think we all agreed this was the “better” film. If you wanted to define noir and just pointed at this movie, you wouldn’t be far off. The femme fatale is the fatale-ist. Fred MacMurray tends to gather sympathy even when he’s hard-nosed—he even manages this in The Caine Mutiny, where his character is deplorable and self-aware of that fact—and here he’s a stone-cold murderer, all business.

Stanwyck’s character is the real mystery, actually. She plays it so coy that even when we’re told this isn’t even the first murder she’s pulled off, you still don’t quite feel like she’s conniving to the degree she must actually be. Her plan, from the get-go, probably has to be that she’s going to bump off Fred’s character as part of a cover-up. And she even says she didn’t realize that she loved him until she realized she couldn’t fire the second shot into him that would kill him.

I mean.

You say you got domestic problems?

Not as much fun as Laura, I think, because Laura is pure frothy pulp. It doesn’t really make much sense and it doesn’t really try to—and it doesn’t have to. This one, with its complicated machinations and twists and turns, feels a little heavier, a little more “realistic” and a lot less outrageous. You really should see these multiple times, and at every opportunity.

See?
“Say, you ain’t got a dame behind that door, do ya? Nah, that’s just crazy talk.”

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