Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Double Indemnity, directed by Billy Wilder, is a 1944 American film noir.

Double Indemnity starts in a usual convention of noir films, it is non-linear and starts with a confession, leading onto how the confession came to be coming from the characters point of view. The story begins with an insurance salesman called Walter Neff who came to meet a lady who had yet to destroy him; Phyllis Dietrichson. She starts flirting with him, though it is later found that she has a husband. Being the usual femme fetale, Pyhllis asks Neff to help her kill her husband meaning she will be given a big pay off for the loss of her husband. To begin with, Neff turns her down and walks away; this would not make one of the greatest noir films and as predicted the femme fetales manipulation kicks in and Neff finds himself planning to make it seem as though Mr. Dietrichson fell off a moving train. The investigator who came along never suspected Neff to do such a thing, as he was a trusted member being a insurance man.
Later on in the film, Neff soon discovers that Pyhllis had also been seeing her step daughters boyfriend, being very unfaithful (though nothing more is expected from the femme fetale, considering she had previously murdered her husband!) and this then leads on to Phyllis shooting Neff once, but not killing him. However, she finds it hard to give him a final blow, and in this time of thought Neff grabs the gun and conquers the femme fetale. Although, in classic film noirs its not always such a happy ending; Neff is ridden with guilt and confessed to his sin on a dictaphone. The investigator happens to hear this, and watches Neff flee but as he follows him Neff collapses on the floor due to his bullet wound. The classic doomish ending to another great film noir.

The Maltese Falcon, directed by John Huston, is a 1941 film noir.
Set in San Francisco, Sam Spade and Miles Archer, two private investigators meet with a client; Miss Ruth Wonderly claiming to have a missing sister who is involved with a man called Floyd Thursby. Wonderly goes to meet him in the hope of finding her sister and Archer volunteers to help get her sister back.
Later that night, Spade is informed of the murder of his colleage, Archer. He meets up with Police Detective Tom Polhaus at the scene of the crime. Knowing that Archer had followed Wonderly, Spade calls the hotel that she had recently checked out of and recieves further terrible news as he finds out Thursby was also murdered in the same evening. Not only this, but he realised that his supervisor, Lieutenant Dundy, suggested that he had the motive and opportunity to commit both of these crimes!
Spade later goes on the meeting Wonderly (now going by the name of Brigid O'shaughnessy) and finds out that Thursby was her partner and 'probably killed Archer', but Wonderly claims to have no idea who killed Thursby. Spade agrees to investigate the murders.
Back at his office, Spade has an encounter with Joel Cairo, offering him a $5000 fee to find a 'black figure of a bird', pulling a gun on him in order to search for it. Managing to knock Cairo out, Spade goes through his belongings. When Cairo gets back to his feet, he hirs Spade. Late that evening Spade informs Wonderly of his meeting with Cairo, and when he turns up it is apparent that they both already know one another.
As they all get talking, Cairo becomes fustrated when Wonderly reveals that the 'fat man' is located in San Francisco. In the morning, Spade makes his was down to the hotel Cairo is staying at, where he sees a man who had been following him earlier; Wilmer. He gives Wilmer a message for his boss, Kasper Gutman, the 'fat man'. Spade meets Gutman and he begins talking about the Falcon, but turns evasive so Spade storms out giving Gutman a deadline to be more forthcoming.
Later on, Spade is at gunpoint by Wilmer in order to see Gutman. However, Spade overpowers him, though meets Gutman anyway. Gutman relates the history of the Maltese Falcon; offering Spade $25,000 for the bird and a quarter of amount from its sale. Little did Spade know that his drink had been spiked, as he fell to the floor. Wilmer, Gutman and Cario leave.
Once Spade wakes up, he roams around in the suite to find a newspaper with arrival times of the freighter La Paloma circled. He goes to the dock to find the ship on fire. A man holding onto a bundle wrapped in newspaper bursts into his office later on and staggers towards him before dying; the bundle containing the Maltese Falcon.
The phone starts ringing, Wonderly on the other end giving an address before a scream and the line dead. Spade follows this address; an empty lot. He then returns home and finds her hiding in a doorway. Taking her inside, he finds Gutman, Cairo and Wilmer waiting for him with their guns drawn. Gutman hands over $10,000 for the Falcon, but is informed by spade that part of his price is somone he can turn over to the police for the murders of Archer, Thursby and Carptain Jacobi. Wilmer is suggested as he certainly killed Thursby and Jacobi. Gutman and Cairo agree after intese discussion. Wilmer has the short end of the stick and Spade get the details to provide a convincing story to the police.
Spade calls his secretary to bring him the bundle. However, when inspected it is found to be a fake and he is told to continue their mission. After Cairo and Gutman leave, Spade calls the police and tells them where to pick up the pair. Spade angrily confront Wonderly, as he knew she killed Archer to implicate Thursby, her unwanted accomplice. She is unable to believe that he would turn her over to the police, but he did despite the feelings he had for her.

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