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Double Indemnity

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"Double Indemnity" is one of the best films of all time, not necessarily because of its story but because of the acting, direction, cinematography, lighting, and the narrative style. At the time this film was released, the idea of revealing who the killer was in the opening scene was virtually unheard of, but it ended up being very effective because it allowed the audience to concentrate more on other elements of the film, which was the goal of Billy Wilder, the director. Instead of trying to figure out who the perpetrator was, there is more emphasis on how the crime was pulled off, what mistakes were made during the murder, who betrayed who, how close Barton Keyes was getting to solving the case, and probably most importantly, what kind of person Walter Neff is and whether or not sympathy should be felt toward him.

Phyllis Dietrichson represents what is called "femme fatale," a very attractive woman that leads a man into a dangerous, difficult or doomed situation. She is a particularly cold and ruthless manipulator who has no difficulty in ruining other people's lives in various ways (including death, if necessary) in order to get what she wants. The "femme fatale," also uses her sexual prowess, seductiveness, and emotional detachment to drag unsuspicious person, generally an interested man, into a scheme from which she is expected to profit deeply. Phyllis decides to recruit Walter Neff for this task, an insurance salesman. First he refuses and appears somewhat offended, but after she pays a visit to his apartment, he easily becomes a victim in her evil conniving plan against her husband. In addition, he voluntarily plots out the death of her husband, and decides to kill him on her behalf in the hopes that they will get the insurance money and be together.

Phyllis Dietrichson and Walter Neff have amazing chemistry. Their attraction is incredibly well portrayed, and the development of their relationship often so convincing that what happens between them almost seems normal. Phyllis knows exactly what to say to Walter because she has practiced every word over and over again in her head. So when the situation presented itself, she felt comfortable brings up the idea of life insurance to him. Whenever she interacts with him, she knows faithfully what to say because she has been planning for quite sometime the prospect of murdering her husband in order to collect his fortune.

Walter, conversely, methodically makes passionate advances as though this is something that he does regularly. Ultimately, he also plans out his conversations with Phyllis because he begins to suspect she is lying to him, so he is careful to make sure he only tells her only what she wants her to hear. This seemingly stiff dialogue brilliantly represents Phyllis and Walter's precise and sinister intentions, and its quick pace creates a feeling of urgency and restlessness.

After they executed the plan to kill Mr. Dietrichson things started to get rocky. Walter returned home went to check on his vehicle, which should have secure his alibi because he told the gentleman that was cleaning his vehicle that he was not leaving his residence for the evening. He then decides to walk to the corner drug store. At this point he becomes paranoid and cannot sleep for the rest of the night. When he gets to work the next day he is very worried about how Mr. Barton Keyes is going to handle the Dietrichson case.

Probably the most fascinating and entertaining actor in the film is Barton Keyes, Walter's friend and employer at the insurance company where he works. Keyes is a very suspicious man who closely investigates the insurance claims, which come into the company, having a striking history of accurately isolating fraudulent claims and throwing them out, makes Walter extremely edgy. At first he is not suspicious, but later he goes to see Walter and reveals that he is having doubt about where this case is valid. Not knowing that Phyllis is standing behind the door, he leaves to go to the corner drug store. Walter and Phyllis decide to hang loose for a while until everything blows over.

When Walter returns to work the next day, Ann Dietrichson is waiting to see him, of course he is really uneasy about the meeting, but he agrees to speak with her. She informs him that she believes Phyllis had something to do with her mother's death as well as her father's sudden death. Walter quickly tries to reverse her thoughts, but she is persistent that Phyllis had something to do with their deaths. As a result, they begin to spend time together because Walter feels it is necessary to make sure she does not disclose her thoughts to anyone else. One evening while they together, she reveals that her former boyfriend has been visiting Phyllis and she fears they conspired to kill her father.

Consequently, Walter has a revelation and realizes that Phyllis has been misleading him from the beginning. He begins to thinks about Keyes statement, "The two people that committed this crime will ride the Trolley to the cemetery in the end. Keyes notify Walter that her believe Phyllis and Ann's former boyfriend killed Mr. Dietrichson. Walter then decides to visit Phyllis to end her life, so she will not be able to implement him. Phyllis swiftly agrees to meet him, and follows his instructions to leave the door open and turn off the lights. Nevertheless, she waits on the sofa with a gun underneath the pillow. When Walter arrives he starts talking about killing her, and begins to moves to the window and pull the blinds close. She immediately pulls out her gun then shots him in this arm once, but does not shot again, even when Walter moves forward after her. She tells Walter that she loves him, but it is to late because Walter shoots her in the stomach.

Lastly, Walter goes back to the office and confuse the entire story, but he does this by using Keyes's Dictaphone. When Keyes arrives it is apparent that he is disappointed with Walter, but he still loves him.

"Double Indemnity" begins with a bright light beaming on a blindfolded Philip Marlowe being interrogated by police, telling his story. Moose Malloy hires Marlowe to find VelmaValento. He gives him $100, and they go to a local bar looking for her. Moose gets upset with the owner and throws him into a bunch of chairs. At that point Marlowe and Moose leave, and Moose tells him he will be in contact with him later.

Next Marlowe goes to see Jessie Florian, he offers her a drink and she accepts. She pretends to quickly become drunk, but Marlowe has doubts she has become drunk that fast. She leaves to go look of any information that her deceased husband might have about Velma. Marlowe is suspicious of her behavior, so he hides behind the door while Jessie supposedly looks for the information



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