Classic Noir

In my honest opinion, I believe that the film, “Double Indemnity” written by Billy Wilder, is the most hardboiled story we have studied so far this semester. The idea of pretending to love someone to get close enough to kill them for their money is far beyond what the average person is used too. Mrs. Dietrichson killed Mr. Dietrichson’s first wife for the sole reason of getting into an acceptable position to off her new husband as well an acquire his money.    This is the first story in which we have experienced premeditated murder. Over half of the movie was spent planning out and developing the idea of killing a man who had done nothing wrong other than possibly being harsh and controlling. Not only did Phyllis Dietrichson betray the previous Mrs. Dietrochson and later her husband, but she also used the protagonist and had intentions of killing Mr. Walter Neff at the end of the movie. It is safe to say that she has “never loved anyone” and can not be trusted. While other stories such as “Red Harvest” and “Miller’s Crossing” may have been more violent, but the plot of “Double Indemnity was a far better example of a hardboiled noir. 

In the “More than Night”essay, the word “noir” is a combination of American hardboiled literature and German expressionism. In class we defined it literally, which in french, translated to the english word “black”. Not black like the color of the night sky, the word black in this case is describing the darkness and demise that runs through noir. In “Double Indemnity”, we see several dark elements to the story. Right off the bat, we see the extremely prominent theme of betrayal when Phyllis and Walter plan the death of Mr. Dietrichson. We see Phyllis as the feminine fatale in the story. A similar character to Dina Brand in that she seduces men to do her bidding, but the biggest difference between the two women, is that Phyllis Dietrichson plays by no rules and, going back to “Miller’s Crossing”, was not born in the time where “ethics” played a big part of society.

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