Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Movie : Double Indemnity

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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.

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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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38 comments on “Movie : Double Indemnity

  1. hotfox63
    December 30, 2018

    I should watch this. Looks like a classic Edward G. Robinson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      December 30, 2018

      Eddie G is just so good!

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        December 31, 2018

        I not such a film freak as you CB, but I love this old gangster movies. Edward G. Robinson is for me best as the bad guy Little Caesar known as Rico. I also like Jean-Pierre-Melville films. “Le Samourai” is probably the closest thing to a perfect movie that I have ever seen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        December 31, 2018

        I will definitely check out “Le Samourai” out. Thanks Fox. Eddie G (Johnny Rocco) in Key Largo He is nasty.

        Like

  2. Jim S.
    December 30, 2018

    I also knew Fred MacMurray from television and it was a revelation to go back and find him in movies like this and the great Caine Mutiny. Haven’t seen this one in a long time. My fellow movie buff Bill is a big film noir fan. BTW, is CB an Orson Welles fan? If so, maybe he knows that Netflix has a long-unreleased movie of Welles’ called “The Other Side of the Wind,” along with a documentary on him called “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead.” Haven’t seen either one yet but definitely on the radar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      December 30, 2018

      Boogie stole the show in ‘Caine’. I like when people play against type. Fred was such a prick in ‘Mutiny’. I also liked Wilder’s ‘Sunset Blvd’
      I heard of that Welles thing. Does it have John Huston in it? Definitely worth a look. Welles? A sacred cow with a lot of film folks. Yes I like his work. But not in the upper fan base. My favorite film of his is ‘Touch of Evil’ (even with Heston playing a Mexican). Plus I really like ‘The Third Man’ which he didn’t direct. I liked his performance.
      Back to this film Doc. I like the “Noir” ( Have something brewing in that vein) thing. And this fits. Upper end. But Like i said in the take, Eddie G is a force. I could watch him all day. I guess It’s a man crush. He is kinda cute!

      Like

      • Jim S.
        December 30, 2018

        Yeah, Huston’s in it as is Dennis Hopper. I liked ‘Touch of Evil’ too. Saw that at a repertory theater when they re-released it. I’ll take your word for Robinson. Haven’t seem this in so long didn’t remember he was in it..

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        December 30, 2018

        Something “sleazy and not quite right” in ‘Evil’. Like the way it was shot and the vibe. like a bad dream. Can see where Lynch got ideas.
        I’ll watch that for sure Doc. Probably soon. As far as directors go Huston is near the top of my list. Love his work. Did I say how much I like Robinson? Here he is with a bunch of other good actors and Huston at the helm.

        https://cincinnatibabyhead.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/movie-scene-key-largo-sings-for-a-drink/

        Like

      • Jim S.
        December 30, 2018

        Yeah, that’s a good scene. Even though that’s not his scene, I’m into anything Bogie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        December 30, 2018

        Just the way Huston shot it to make everyone feel uncomfortable. Eddie just standing there radiating ass-holism is enough for me. Clare is great and not a bad performance for us music guys. Bogie is another CB kinda guy. One of my fave bios was him.
        Doc you have to branch out and do a film take or a least do a guest shot on Cincinnati Babyhead.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        December 30, 2018

        See I don’t have the director’s eye so I don’t appreciate as much how the shot is framed. I mean, I do but I don’t think about that so much. I might opt for the guest shot on CB. If I do a take on my site, it’ll only be if it’s music-based. How do guest shots work on your site? Fill out forms in triplicate, have it stamped by Trudeau, wait my turn in the queue?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        December 30, 2018

        That’s the cool thing about directors like Huston, you don’t have to think about it. It just happens. He brings you into the circumstances and makes you feel it.
        No forms to fill out (maybe kick Justin in the nuts. Just kidding!) just your unique take on whatever you choose. Music? Altamont doc? You already did one on ‘It Might Get Loud’

        Like

      • Jim S.
        December 30, 2018

        Docs are good but if I do a film one over here I want it to be a movie, not a documentary. I’ll think about a flick that I like that maybe CB has not covered as a guest spot.

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        December 31, 2018

        That would be great.

        Like

  3. Yeah, Another Blogger
    December 30, 2018

    Yeah, it’s a real good one.

    I’m sure you’ve seen In A Lonely Place, and also Out Of The Past. I love those two noir flicks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      December 30, 2018

      Yes both very good. Boogie is up there with Eddie G. They are so good. Just watched another of Nick Ray’s films the other night ‘On Dangerous Ground’ Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino. Good one.
      I’m putting together a list of lesser know Noir/Crime flicks. Like music, so many good ones off the radar. It will be just a quick list sort of like “Cb’s Listening Week”. Friday is kinda “Noir” night around here. As usual thanks for stopping by with that great Neil insight and just all that good stuff you bring to CB’s table. Later.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. greenpete58
    December 30, 2018

    Robinson is one helluva talent. Same thing with director Wilder. I never took to Stanwyck, but she’s held in high esteem by classic film buffs. MacMurray seems miscast here, but perhaps I’m letting “My Three Sons” and those Disney flubber movies influence my thinking. But this movie, agreed, it’s a classic film noir. A must-see for anyone interested in cinema history!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      December 30, 2018

      I’m with you on the Stanwyck thing. But she was good in this. I can think of other choices but she worked. I think the casting of Fred works in this but some of the “baby’s” that come out of his mouth just don’t fit old Mac but that’s part of the charm of the film for me. I was waiting for Chip and Ernie to walk into a scene. But it is a good place to be introduced to this genre.
      Watched quite a few of Wilder’s films. this and ‘Sunset Blvd’ are my faves.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 1dancequeendq
    December 31, 2018

    Love this movie have seen it a few times but it still seems fresh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      December 31, 2018

      I eat this stuff up. Like i commented to another traveler, I’m going to make a quick hit list of lesser known crime/noir flicks that i dig.
      Hey I’ll be tuning into your stuff for a spin soon. See what you’ve been getting out there. later Queen.

      Like

  6. Thom Hickey
    January 1, 2019

    Endlessly intriguing with stellar acting direction and script. Thom

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BuriedOnMars
    January 3, 2019

    I just pick this one up on Blu Ray yesterday! $12! I love Billy Wilder and this is one of my favs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 3, 2019

      Good snag Mars! Yeah I dig a few of Billy’s films. I bring out ‘Sunset’ periodically. I’m a Holden guy. Billy cast him perfect in ‘Stalag 17’.
      I’ll say it again. Great flick with Eddie G doing his thing. I’m not up on the Academy awards but I don’t think he ever won one. What’s up with that? I’m boycotting that show (unless they invite me).

      Like

      • BuriedOnMars
        January 3, 2019

        Dude, we can hang anytime. Sunset and Holden are both my all time favorites. Stalag 17 is brilliant. Academy Awards are a joke. Hitch never won one for Best Director. That’s all I need to know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 3, 2019

        I don’t think I knew that about Alfred. That’s how much I pay attention to those award things. We will have to start our own awards how.
        ‘The Mars & CB Awards’ “For folks that really deserve it”. The smart alternative. Hitch would be our first recipient.

        Like

  8. Chris
    January 5, 2019

    Good review. To me, an almost perfect film. The only small issue I had was that what is spoken could have been said with fewer words. I cared about the main narrator, even though he is up to no good, he is a cynic, but also a nice guy. You should do an entire post about Edward G Robinson, he’s a great actor.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Matilde Mbulo
    January 13, 2019

    Seems like a great film. I should watch it

    Like

  10. J.
    February 5, 2019

    One I haven’t seen… sounds like I should see it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 5, 2019

      OK J put it on some dark stormy Scottish night, pop some corn if they have it over there, grab a beverage (which I know you do have over there), turn off the lights and take a step back into a time when they made these kind of films. Suspend the current mindset and enjoy a very good movie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 5, 2019

        Sounds perfect, CB. Might even throw some peanut M&Ms into the mix.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Casual But Smart
    February 13, 2019

    This is a solid film. I wish more films would create the witty dialogue of the film noir type.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. JDB
    February 18, 2019

    Classic Wilder. My favorites of his are Some Like It Hot and The Apartment (the latter with MacMurray again playing a cad…) If you haven’t seen it, I bet you’d like The Woman In The Window, another noir with Edward G. Robinson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 18, 2019

      I really like ‘Sunset Blvd’. The whole vibe of the film grabs me.
      Yes I have seen ‘Woman in the Window’. Up for a rewatch soon. I think you know how I feel about Eddie G. JDB you are a bit of a “film buff”

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 30, 2018 by in 1944 Film, Academy Award Nomination, Crime Film, Edward G Robinson, Noir and tagged , , .

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