Friday, November 11, 2011
Double Indemnity. A
In terms of cooking up the ideal plot and keeping it moving with unremitting suspense, Double Indemnity is pretty much perfect. And that's essentially what spells the film's greatness. This is something new that happens in nearly every scene to advance the story along. Sometimes it's for the narrative's sake and sometimes it's for pure suspense. I saw Double Indemnity for the second time last night as part of Chris Vognar's Noir Series, a followup to the 70s series from earlier in the year. It's a monthly event and Indemnity was the kick-off film, a perfect choice really, as it's the perfect representation of this style of movie. When the elements of film noir are added up, Double Indemnity pretty much matches the sum. And it has the perfect people to produce such an exquisite product. Billy Wilder, who, with his German roots can literally be seen as one of the fathers of noir, directs, and Raymond Chandler helped with the script from the book by the great James M. Cain. And then the cast is like seasoning to a perfect dish, with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in the lead and the incomparable Edward G. Robinson anchoring the story in the background. The film has no rough edges, no logic mishaps, or extraneous elements. It isn't my favorite noir because the category is so hard to define (In a Lonely Place would top my list, but that's more of a romance with noir elements), but in terms of fitting all the requirements, Double Indemnity has no equal.