Film & Water #142 – Double Indemnity



Podcaster extraordinaire Tom Panarese makes his first appearance on FILM & WATER, joining Rob to discuss Billy Wilder's classic film noir DOUBLE INDEMNITY, starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson!

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7 responses to “Film & Water #142 – Double Indemnity

  1. Love this movie. And yes, this is one of those movies you show people as a primer of ‘film noir’.

    For me the one thing that doesn’t work is that Stanwyck just doesn’t seem as seductive as needed to lead MacMurray to murder. Maybe he was close and just needed a nudge? But Stanwyck isn’t Gene Tierney. She isn’t Joan Bennett. She isn’t Audrey Totter. She isn’t Rita Hayworth. Heck, *I* would fall for those femme fatales and probably be lured down a dark path.

    And while MacMurray is the Absent-Minded Professor, the dad on My Three Sons, and the template for Captain Marvel, he’ll always be Keefer from The Caine Mutiny. Just as oily, only smarter in his venom. As a result, I always side-eye him in all his movies wondering what his *real* motives are.

    I also have to add that the grocery store scene is ridiculous. They are trying sooooo hard to be inconspicuous that they are totally conspicuous!

    Thanks for reviewing.

  2. I bet 60s kids had a hard time with this movie if they caught it on late night TV. My Three Sons patriarch and Big Valley matriarch as cold-blooded killers?

    I recently caught Robinson and Stanwyck in a great western, “The Violent Men” with Glenn Ford. They are a couple in that one! Stanwyck was just as cold and manipulating in that one too. She played the ice queen well.

    Always a pleasure to hear Tom stop by the network!


  3. Wonderful conversation fellas. Just a few quick comments:

    1. One of my favorite atypical Edward G. Robinson performances from his later career is in Frank Capra’s “A Hole in the Head” (1959) where he and Thelma Ritter play a bickering older couple who come to meddle in Frank Sinatra’s love life. It’s not a great film (which is probably best recalled today for introducing the song “High Hopes”) but it shows EGR had nice comic timing.

    2. Although Barbara Stanwyck may not have been a screen goddess like Bergman or TIerney, for my money she is the best actress of her era. I’d recommend viewing “Baby Face” (1933) a pre-code film where she plays a woman who sleeps her way up the corporate ladder. She’s tough as nails in it and then she could do something softer like Stella Dallas (and break you heart). Everyone who ever worked with Stanwyck called her the ultimate pro. Here she is accepting her honorary Oscar:

    3. You are spot on about the elevated dialogue. Nobody talks that way or is that fast on their feet but it’s a treat to listen to it. Actors must love to have those words rolling around in their mouth. This week I was on a long international flight and watched All About Eve. Talk about sparkling repartee! (Please consider this one for an upcoming F&W),

    4. Finally, I really enjoyed your discussion on directors who annually produce films. My personal favorite director is Woody Allen and he has made nearly 50 films since 1969. They may not all be classics but he has a great batting average. There is something to be said for such a work ethic and always moving on to the next project. I’ve seen all his movies in the theater since the late 1980s and one of my favorite moments every year is going to the cinema and seeing those familiar black and white credits start to roll.

  4. Thanks for a hugely enjoyable episode. I think I first saw Double Indemnity when I was about ten and just loved it. It’s such smart, classy entertainment. Back then I didn’t appreciate the guy talking about being unable to get insurance but post (mild) heart attack, now that I need to pay an excess charge every time I leave the ruddy country…. grrrr! Great spot, Rob.

    I’m shocked to hear Phyllis couldn’t have seduced you guys, though. Don’t you like anklets?

    Bring back Tom soon!

  5. Double Indemnity has such a reputation, I was sure it was one of Hitchcock’s. But Billy Wilder isn’t exactly the B-team. Do you think Edward G. Robinson’s character inspired Columbo? (he’s particularly great). Who knew the world of insurance could be this exciting, or attract its share of femme fatales?

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