Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wilder Gets it Right

Chez Buce enjoyed a screening of the 1944 Double Indemnity last night and here's the big news that you already knew: Wilder really is one of the all-time great storytellers. I really never have seen the point of Fred McMurray nor even Barbara Stanwyck, but it doesn't matter: the pace and the detail and he atmosphere are all so right that it still remains the gold standard of noir.

I had always thought of this as a James M. Cain film after the guy who wrote the book; I had failed grasp how much of the dialog--the ratatattat almsot Groucho-ish one-liners that just holler the name of Raymond Chandler, who co-wrote the script. I see from David Thomson's account that Cain got it: per Thomson, Cain said "it's the only picture I ever saw made from my books that had things in it I wish I had thought of."

Curious fact name on important respect in which this film is like the other great Wilder masterpiece, Some Like it Hot. For an answer, go here.

Fun fact: I know that Edward G. Robinson was a vociferous Democrat and if memory serves, McMurray was a devoted Republican. Wonder if they spent their final moments together trash-talking the Roosevelt fourth term.

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