March 02, 2007

Oh What A Tangled Web

I had the pleasure of accompanying Ms. Joyous to see one of her favorite films on the big screen. In the beautiful main theater of the AFI, we took in a special screening of Billy Wilder's 1944 classic, Double Indemnity. I'd never seen it before, which was good, in a way. Seeing it for the first time on the big screen really enhanced the experience.

Double Indemnity is classic film noir - shadowy lighting to match the dark mood. It's a throwback to a simpler time - when people could flirt blatantly and outrageously, when trains had plush sofas and coffee tables, and when men could light a match with the flick of a thumb.

The plot is based on a simple premise - insurance companies would often offer a "double indemnity clause" which would offer bigger payouts should the policyholder perish in an unlikely way. Supposedly this would make a policy more attractive to the purchaser. Regardless, this insurance loophole leads two people into a convoluted web of lies and deceit.

Sure, the language may come off a bit corny today. But it's all about the style. Witness Barbara Stanwyck holding a clandestine rendezvous in a supermarket wearing dark sunglasses. Or her eyes, full of malice, as she drives the getaway car.

Also great fun is Edward G. Robinson as the fast-talking boss intent on following the "little man" in his gut until he sniffs out every case of insurance fraud. And I challenge you to try and consider Fred MacMurray as the sex symbol without thinking of him as the Absent-Minded Professor!

The movie starts slow, but believe me that your patience will be rewarded. Once the plan is set in motion, it's a non-stop thrill ride..."all the way, straight down the line."

3 comments:

Stef said...

I first saw that movie a few years ago. (One of the good things about knowing the Greek was that he made me watch a lot of classic films.) I thought it was great - the suspense and the twisty story were so entertaining!

Joyous, what's that scene you love about her ankle bracelet? I know I've heard you do the whole scene before! :-)

joyous said...

There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour.

How fast was I going, officer?

I'd say around ninety.

Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.

Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.

Suppose it doesn't take.

Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.

Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.

Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder.

That tears it.


I LOVE THIS MOVIE.

Dancer in DC said...

I love you too, baby. Just hold me, baby.