Essay about Billy Wilder's Double Idemnity

Essay about Billy Wilder's Double Idemnity

Length: 1353 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Double Indemnity - Scene Analysis

Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity is one of the best representatives of the film noir era in Hollywood as it contains all the main characteristics of the genre. The general darkness present throughout the movie is embodied in the plot which reveals the moral bankruptcy of the main characters. It is also present in the mise-en-scene choices such as the dark costumes and modest lighting with the great emphasis on shadows (Allyn 1978, p. 117). The main character’s voice-over, another important film noir characteristic, brings this darkness to life and communicates it to the audience with brutal honesty. One of the scenes of the film which contains all of these features is the one where the two main characters, Neff and Phyllis, meet for the first time. This scene will be analysed with respect to the main film noir elements and techniques that were used in the making of it – mainly mise en scene, the voice-over and the screenplay.

This scene introduces the femme fatale character Phyllis Dietrichson and starts a relationship between her and Neff – a relationship which sets out the plot for rest of the film. The scene focuses on Phyllis’ use of sexual appeal to gain control over Neff and try to use him to fulfil her twisted of murdering her husband. Wilder uses several filming elements characteristic to film noir in the scene in order to display the nature of Neff and Phyllis’ relationship from the very moment they met.
The scene starts with a bright shot set outdoors as Neff is heading to Mr. Dietrichson’s house – a shot uncharacteristic to film noir standards. However, the next shot contrasts the initial one greatly, as Neff walks in and is instantly swallowed by the darkness and shadows of the...

... middle of paper ...

... contributed to the style the film was represented in and created a concept which leads the audience into the dark world of danger and moral bankruptcy and makes them question their basic ethical values – a concept present in every movie of the film noir genre.

Works Cited

Allyn, J. (1978). Double indemnity: A policy that paid off. Literature/Film Quarterly, 6(2), 116-124.

Borde, R., & Chaumeton, E. (1996). Towards a definition of film noir. Film Noir Reader, 17-25.

Bordwell D, 2006. Film Art: an Introduction. 8th Edition. Mcgraw-Hill College.

Bronfen, E. (2004). Femme Fatale--Negotiations of Tragic Desire. New Literary History, 35(1), 103-116.

Dick, B. F. (1995). Columbia's Dark Ladies and the Femmes Fatales of Film Noir. Literature Film Quarterly, 23, 155-162.

Wilder, B. (Director). (1944). Double Indemnity [Motion Picture]. United States.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder Essay

- It has always been a quest for individuals to achieve fame and success. In this day and age a community exists where many people have this intent to achieve this desire for attention and wealth. Hollywood can be interpreted as this mindset and life style. For those who succeed in this community of publicity seekers, include the usual benefits of success, wealth, power, influence and fame. But for the majority of people in Hollywood their quest for the luxuries of fame go awry. Hollywood to put plainly is a vulgar cut throat business, it is a dog eat dog world out there in Hollywood....   [tags: Film Industry, Film Analysis]

Strong Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Film Noir and Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard Essay

- Film Noir, a term coined by the French to describe a style of film characterized by dark themes, storylines, and visuals, has been influencing cinematic industries since the 1940’s. With roots in German expressionistic films and Italian postwar documentaries, film noir has made its way into American film as well, particularly identified in mob and crime pictures. However, such settings are not exclusive to American film noir. One noteworthy example is Billy Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard, which follows the foreboding tale of Joe Gillis, the desperate-for-success protagonist, who finds himself in the fatal grips of the disillusioned femme fatale Norma Desmond....   [tags: Film, Movies, dark themes]

Strong Essays
1109 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Little House By Laura Ingalls Wilder

- Laura Ingalls Wilder was the creator of the popular children 's series "Little House" books that recounted her life as a young girl on the Western frontier during the late 1800s. Her writings were autobiographical having written eight books about her childhood; and these stories contained facts about real people, places, and things. Laura Ingalls Wilder, accurately portrays her life and the time period in Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie, the first two, and the most popular books in the series....   [tags: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane]

Strong Essays
1810 words (5.2 pages)

Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder Essays

- Film Noir is a fairly self-explanatory name. French for “Dark” or “Black Film”, this style (not genre) of film is pretty much summed up in those two words. These films started being made in a 1940’s, Post WWII paranoia, with the threat of nuclear missiles looming over the heads of all United States citizens, Hollywood included. This paranoia led to disillusioned attitudes and existential feelings, which in turn were reflected in Film Noirs through things such as characters, with the two most prominent types being hardened male protagonists and femme fatales....   [tags: Film Noir, Characteristics]

Strong Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

Witness for the Prosecution Essay examples

- The mystery, “Witness for the Prosecution”, was produced in 1957 by Arthur Hornblow, Jr. and directed by Billy Wilder. The two lead male actors were Tyrone Power as Leonard Vole and Charles Laughton as Sir Wilfrid Robarts. The lead female actor was Marlene Dietrich as Christine Helm. “Witness for the Prosecution” superbly demonstrated a realist view of the operating procedures in a courtroom. The actors within the courtroom were easy to identify, and the steps transitioned smoothly from the arrest to the reading of the verdict....   [tags: Billy Wilder, Arthur Hornblow]

Strong Essays
883 words (2.5 pages)

Billy Budd Essay: Comparing Christ to Billy

- Comparing Christ to Billy of Billy Budd         "I stand for the heart. To the dogs with the head!" wrote Herman Melville in his June 1851 letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne (Davis and Gilman 3). Yet, by the time he began writing Billy Budd, Sailor in 1888, Melville must have tempered this view, for Billy Budd depicts the inevitable destruction of a man who is all heart but who utterly lacks insight. Melville no doubt intends for his reader to connect this tale with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Billy Budd endures a persecution similar to Christ's; he is executed for like reasons, and he eventually ascends, taking "the full rose of the dawn" (BB 376)....   [tags: Billy Budd Essays]

Strong Essays
3199 words (9.1 pages)

Thornton Wilder's Our Town Essay

- "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it, every, every minute?" Are humans ever able to realize life. Are they able to "…comprehend completely or correctly [?]" "Webb" Gibbs is only able to mutter this statement after her eyes are opened to the truth. Emily's eyes were not even opened after her death. She was just able to see after a flashback and relive one special day in her past. She realizes what life really is after watching all the hustle and bustle that takes place even on her 12th birthday....   [tags: Wilder Our Town Play]

Free Essays
961 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about Reader Reaction to Billy Budd

- Reader Reaction to Billy Budd I approached Melville's Billy Budd with a mixture of trepidation and determination. I read the Introduction first, because I thought its purpose was to introduce the author, and place the selected stories in context and I thought this would be an aid to understanding. I was correct, but too correct, because Joyce Carol Oates, without warning of the spoiler, casually references Billy's death. I think this knowledge influenced my reading, because I was aware of the ultimate outcome, I read with the purpose of understanding why that came to be....   [tags: Billy Budd Essays]

Strong Essays
1210 words (3.5 pages)

Free College Essays - Our Town by Thornton Wilder

- Our Town by Thornton Wilder The Stage Manager is a man of many roles. Usually a stage manager is part of the non-acting staff and in complete charge of the bodily aspects of the production. In Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, the Stage Manager goes well beyond his usual function in a play and undertakes a large role as a performer. In Our Town the Stage Manager is a narrator, moderator, philosopher, and an actor. Through these roles the Stage Manager is able to communicate the theme of universality in the play....   [tags: Wilder Our Town Essays]

Free Essays
1301 words (3.7 pages)

The Double Helix Essay

- The Double Helix   "The discovery of the structure by Crick and Watson, with all its biological implications, has been one of the major scientific events of this century." (Bragg, The Double Helix, p1) In the story of The Double Helix, James Watson tells of the road that led to the discovery of life's basic building block-DNA. This autobiography gives insight into science and the workings within a professional research laboratory that few members of society will ever be able to experience....   [tags: Double Helix Essays]

Strong Essays
1858 words (5.3 pages)