Instant View: Double Indemnity

Hello there,

I  love watching Turner Classic Movies.  There is something about those old black and whites that has always enthralled me.  The romances were sweeter, the betrayals more bitter… When we got  married and moved to NJ,  we got cable, but not TCM. How was I going to get my old movie fix? The answer: Netflix. Netflix has tons of old movies on instant view, and I figured I would share my favorites that are currently available for viewing.

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite examples of Film Noir: Billy Wilder’s 1944 classic, Double Indemnity. While Double Indemnity is an earlier example of the Noir genre, no one questions its Noir credentials because it has all of the essential characteristics of a Noir film: Murder, betrayal, a (dynamite) femme fatale, a anti-hero with feet of clay, dark visuals and a black hopelessness that tells the viewers, “This isn’t going to end well.”

One of my favorite things about Double Indemnity is the unholy alliance that is formed between Walter Neff (the said, anti-hero with feet of clay), and Phyllis Dietrichson, played by the brilliant Barbara Stanwyck.

Never was there such a fantastically diabolical femme fatale.  Walter Neff, played by Fred MacMurray, was just your average insurance salesman until the day he met Phyllis.  To see her was to want her, and to have her, her husband had to be taken out of the picture…but only after taking out a sizable insurance policy on him.

Phyllis uses her sex-appeal to seduce and manipulate Walter, until his life falls apart.

The clever use of voice-over narration gives the viewer the sense of Walters’ helplessness is this whole business.  He has a choice to make, and is a free man, but the voice-over, Walter looking back on his past, would suggest a feeling inevitability: this is going to happen. I have to have her- at any cost.

Turns out, the cost is his soul… And that ladies and gentlemen, is Film Noir. See this movie, and tell me what you think.

I hope you like it! Tune in next Wednesday for Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night.



Moonrise Kingdom: Le Temps de l’Amour

Have you seen the trailer for Wes Anderson’s latest film, Moonrise Kingdom? I have been super excited about this movie from the moment I heard another Anderson pic was in the works and that TILDA SWINTON was going to be in it.  I have always liked Tilda Swinton, but her work in Luca Guadagnino’s I am Love cinched it for me, and now I love her.  In case you have not seen I am Love  it is still on instant-view on Netflix.  I am Love is a visual feast.  It’s sumptuous, rich and sinfully good.  Do yourself a favor and go see it! Anywho, back to Moonrise Kingdom,  this film is particularly exciting because not only is this Anderson’s first period piece (set in the 1960’s), but it is also his first to star children Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Before you start to think that this film is a children’s movie, note that it is rated PG-13, so it is definitely still catering toward adults.

"I'll be out back. I have a tree to chop down"

Anderson got some of the proverbial band back together. Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray- you almost can’t have a Wes Anderson film without them.  He also brought in Bruce Willis, Edward Norton,Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel (Really? Harvey Keitel I suppose stranger things have happened).

The film deals with two twelve year-old’s falling in love and making a pact to run away together.  Various groups on the small New England island band together to find them,when a storm blows into town.  Craziness and that delightful Andersonian quirkiness ensues as the town is turned upside-down, and it seems as if that might not be such a bad thing.

Here is the movie trailer:

What is your favorite Wes Anderson film? Also, here are some pictures of Brendan and I at a Wes Anderson party my best friend Stephanie threw (she is the coolest).

"I think we're just gonna to have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that, Ritchie. "

We had a lot of fun at that party.  Which is why I will be dressing up in my best vintage duds in celebration of Moonrise Kingdom when I go to see it opening night.

Have a great weekend!!

Oh, if you were wondering who sang that delightful song in the trailer, that would be French chanteuse Francoise Hardy, “Le Temps De l’Amour.