Film Friday #13 Double Indemnity & The Postman Always Rings Twice

 

Made: 1944

Director:  Billy Wilder

Writers:  (screenplay) Billy Wilder & Raymond Chandler

Starring:  Barbara Stanwyck * Fred MacMurray * Edward G Robinson

 

The story unfolds when Walter Neff (MacMurray) an insurance salesman’s visits the Deitrichsons to renew their automobile insurance and meets Phyllis (Stanwyck) there is an immediate attraction between the two and an affair begins.

As the affair continues Walter completely ensnared by Phyllis they plot to murder her husband Walter devising a plan so they can collect double the insurance by adding a” Double Indemnity” clause in the policy.

When her husband is found dead it’s accepted it was an accident, and the pair think they have got away with it.

However Barton Keyes (Edward G Robinson) Walters best friend and insurance analyst suspects foul play, his gut telling him Phyllis is responsible for murdering her husband with the help of another man, of course he tells Walter this little knowing that he’s the man in question.

Then ensues a dark cat and mouse game as they try to get away with murder and Barton tries to prove it was murder, as time goes on Barton finds out from Phyllis’s step daughter that suspected her step mother of murdering her mother, also at the same time Walter realises that Phyllis is double-crossing him for the murder and has another man in the background.

This is one of the classic film noir from the forties and all the ingredients of a clever thriller of will they won’t they and Barbara Stanwyck makes a chilling femme fatal.

 

Made: 1946

Director: Tay Garret

Starring: Lana Turner * John Garfield * Cecil Kellaway.

Based on the Novel of James M Cain

 

A drifter Frank Chambers (Garfield) hitches a lift to an out-of-the-way diner/gas station looking for work before he drifts through to the next place their he meets Nick who offers him a job as handyman.

Nick has a beautiful younG wife Cora ( Lana Turner) who runs the diner with him but is bored with her life and husband and wants something different.

Interestingly Turner wears white all through the film making her really stand out and is a great contrast to the genre of film noir.

Predictably Frank and Cora begin an affair under the nos of Nick who loves his wife and has come to think of Frank as a friend, in fact begs him to come back when Frank tries to leave which he does sealing his fate.

Cora persuades Frank to help her murder her husband but to make it look like an accident, though Nick survives initially and the district attorney suspicious, of the pair they stick together Nick does die and Cora inherits.

The deed done the two are now wary of the other and in light of the DA suspecting them they go back to run the diner she now Franks boss, both feel guilty about their actions and can see no way they can be together, so each day they just go on, but neither able to leave.

Eventually they do get back together and go for a late night swim in which Cora gets into trouble Frank tries to save her but she distrusts him and drowns believing he murdered her.

Franks tries to convince the authorities of his innocence and is put on trial for her murder, though not true accepts his fate through his love for her and that they did indeed murder nick which they both felt guilty about.

Another twist on the genre where the antagonists both feel the consequences of their actions but have to continue through fear of being found out preferring to live under the pressure of the dark cloud of suspicion hanging over them.

This was Turners most prominent role  and put her into to the top echelons of Hollywood, though she never really hit these heights again, and as a femme fatal with a conscience she excels, John Garfield the perfect foil.

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I returned to this blog in September 2014, after a 2 year absence, due to depressive illness and homelessness. This journey charts the rocky road to recovery and my feelings about it, and getting a home together after losing everything, this too has been a rocky rocky, both things connected on many levels, but separate at the same time. If you want to know more please read my blog:) and comment on any blog you like I enjoy the interaction, and belong to a great community on here. Thanks for reading.:)
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