Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Vamp In Film Noir:

Double Indemnity: 1944 Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred Macmurry and Edward G. Robinson. Directed by Billy “The master” Wilder with a screenplay he co-wrote with Raymond “all women are broads” Chandler, from the novella of the same name written by James Cain, for liberty Magazine1935.


Phyllis Dietrichson: Evil conniving dame doesn’t come close to describing the depravity of Mz. Phyllis down played brilliantly by Barbera Stanwyck; this cunning vixen plays unsuspecting insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred Macmurry) like some cheap plastic kazoo she’s won at the fair, in fact he’s too easy and she has him sucker marked the second he sizes up her gorgeous gam by making mention of the “honey of anklet” draped around her well turned tibia in the lascivious tone of a wolf on the prowl (he all but smacks his lips in anticipation), but who’s the real predator here?


She quickly makes it abundantly clear to the viewer that in this particular game of Le Chat et la souris, she is the cat and he is the mouse; furthermore, let us suffice it to say that she has let Walter chase her comely tail just long enough to get a death grip on his priapismic one with her perfectly manicured feline claws.


The story is based on a 1927 crime committed in Queens New York by Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray a married woman and her lover. The nefarious couple plotted in true crime fashion to kill her husband Albert whom she persuaded to buy a large insurance policy with a double indemnity clause; they were both electrocuted in Sing Sing on January 12, 1928.

In fact one of the best lines spoken by Fred MacMurray’s character mirrors closely something that Judd Gray said during his own lurid confession: “When I walked I listened for my step…no sound seemed to follow.” Walter Neff ‘s character seems to parrot this when he says shortly after committing the murder: “I couldn’t hear my footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man.”

For both men it seems their humanity had finally caught up with them, but to late, for the die was cast, and cast would die…

6 comments:

Pisces Iscariot said...

Girls who wore ankle-chains were considered sluts in the ultra-conservative South Africa where I grew up - something to do with this movie perhaps?

Spooks said...

I think that they were a definate sign of "raciness" back in the day...

Karmyn R said...

I am always surprised when a movie made long ago mirrors things that happen now. It just goes to show how human nature has never really changed.

Even in human nature there are basic behaviors that never change. There have been, are now, and will always be creeps.

Spooks said...

Exactly so Karmyn, and the very reason Jung came up with the Shadow Archetypes...

Karmyn R said...

I know very little psychology (just basic stuff from Psych 101 in college - like Pavlov's dog). I will have to read more about Jung's shadow theory. I probably would like it.

Spooks said...

Karmyn there is a book called "Meeting the Shadow" that is a collective of many different experts in the field from Jung to Peck. It was put together by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams. Interesting informative and fun read. Well fun for me anyway, I'm a wee strange I've been told,lol...