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An injured man makes his way into an office after hours and starts to speak into a Dictaphone. He’s making a confession to his boss. He committed the crime “For money and a woman. Didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman”.
As he relates his story we are taken back to how it all came about. The confessor, Walter Neff is an insurance man. He stops by to get a client to renew his policy. The client isn’t home but his wife is. That’s the beginning of the end. Sparks fly between the two and they are off on how to cash in on the husband’s policy. Neff being in the business figures he knows how to beat the system. His boss,Keyes, has seen it all and knows the system inside out. What Neff has going for him is that Keyes likes him and trusts him. Even though we know that the plan goes wrong we want to stick around for the ride and see where it goes off the rails.
Another one of those films CB saw at his double feature repertory theater. I’d already seen a few of these old movies and dug them. This one was added to that list. I think this was the first time that I heard the term Film Noir. No idea what it meant. Billy Wilder has the director’s reins for this one and he makes a good one. It helps that he had Raymond Chandler in on the James M. Cain story, great black and white photography and a really good cast.
CB sees Fred MacMurray on screen and wonders what the dad from ‘My Three Sons’ is doing in this. Barbra Stanwyck plays the nasty wife. They are both good in this. The kicker for me was Edward G Robinson. He was one of the best actors in film. What he does with this role and the way he handles dialogue and gives asides is film acting at its best. He is so good he makes it look easy. A film treasure. Watching him work in this is a treat. He was known mostly for playing bad asses but in this he still has an edge but is smart and is a real living breathing person.
The movie is full of lots of dated and corn ball dialogue but there is more than enough good work to keep my interest. It’s a really good film made better because of Eddie G. A great time capsule for that era of movie making. If you haven’t seen a film Noir film check this out. I would call this a real good movie. Go for the ride.
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