Books and Movies Reviews

double indemnity

During the opening of "Double Indemnity" the camera closely follows Fred MacMurray's character "Walter Neff" to show we are trying to find some clues about him. We jump straight into the main storyline so we need close observation on "Walter" so we can have ideas about what is going on.For example the director may want us to pick up on the fact he is only using one arm throughout the scene, this is purposely so you wonder what is going on, there is something wrong with his arm yet we do not know what."Walters" face is lit up so we can see the sweat showing he has done something physical to make him sweat up like and it obviously isn't the weather as he is wearing a large coat. The lighting is unnatural and therefore it must be pointing out something. Everything is done for a reason nothing happened by mistake.
Typical of film noir the protagonist – "Walter Neff" is trapped in the situation and cannot find the way out so we see this reflected in the close ups of him and small rooms, e.g. his office where there is a very limited amount of space shows he is trapped. The antagonist in this film, as typically for film noir, is "Phyllis Dietrichson" a seductive female or "femme fatale". In the opening scene we see her with a low angle shot. This showing her overpowerment and also she is dressed in only a towel which would have been seen as quite rude in the time the film was made. Usually a woman would be very vulnerable in a film, yet, film noir distinctively uses the woman as a powerful figure usually behind the danger, using lighting to show only the side of "Phyllis'" face creates an air of mystery in her an we cannot be sure of exactly what she is up to. We Know not to trust this woman, as stereotypically she should be the weaker character but in the opening scenes is portrayed as a strong willed character by the use of the low angle…

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