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Double Indemnity
Frau ohne Gewissen

USA 1944
produced by
Joseph Sistrom, Buddy G. DeSylva (executive) for Paramount
directed by Billy Wilder
starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Jean Heather, Porter Hall, Tom Powers, Byron Barr, Richard Gaines, Fortunio Bonanova, John Philliber, Betty Farrington, Sam McDaniel, Douglas Spencer
screenplay by Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, based on the novel by James M. Cain, music by Miklós Rózsa

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Originally, insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) only wanted to remind his client Dietrichson (Tom Powers) to renew his car insurance - but instead of him, he meets his wife Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck) ... who wants to insure her husband against accidents - without his knowledge of course. Now Neff isn't naive, so it doesn't take him long to figure Phyllis doesn't actually care about her husband's welfare at all but wants to get her hands on quite a bit of dough should her husband "accidently" have an accident. Thus Neff refuses Phyllis's proposal outrightly of course ... well, at first, anyways, but Phyllis is an attractive woman, and she feels herself drawn to him, so ...

Eventually, Dietrichson dies falling off a train platform - only he didn't, he was killed beforehands by Neff and Phyllis, then Neff boarded the train in his place and jumped off the train at an opportune moment to then place the corpse where he hopped off. The perfect crime, Neff figures, and initially everything goes in his and Phyllis's favour, even Neff's best friend, insurance claim investigator Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) thinks it was a mere accident, nothing more ... but then question after question pops up and Keyes starts investigating, and he begins to piece together a puzzle that leads to Phyllis as the culprit, but she's sure to have had a male accomplice. Now it's not that Keyes has anything tangible yet, just a gut-feeling, but he's a bloodhound who always gets his guy.

What Neff has in his favour is that he knows how Keyes thinks, and has enough nerve to stay away from Phyllis for the time being, and he soon even finds out that Phyllis has a secret lover (Byron Barr) he intends to let take his place - on the electric chair. He also comes up with a fool-proof plan to kill Phyllis and let the lover take the fall ... but Phyllis has a few wicked ideas of her own, so when Neff turns up at her place to kill her, she awaits him with a loaded gun - and in the end, while he shoots her dead, she manages to injure him to such a degree that he stays alive for just about long enough for Keyes to catch up with him and once again get his guy.

 

One of these film noirs that gets just about everything right: The narrative build-up is brilliant, there may be little in terms of action, but the dialogue is sharp and edgy and contains just the right amount of irony to keep the audience interested throughout, the characters are all well-fleshed out and interesting, and the acting is first rate. Plus the pacing is impeccable and the direction subtle without ever boring the audience, so in all, this is pretty much a must-see!!!

Totally recommended.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD