Double Indemnity Final Scene

Double Indemnity is a very memorable film noir. Barbara Stanwyck’s performance of a cold and ruthless manipulator who has no difficulty doing what is necessary to get what she wants. She is what they call the ‘femme fatale’. Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray have amazing chemistry on screen, thats why it is so hard as a viewer to know what her real intensions are.To understand Double Indemnity one should become aquinted with film noir and how this genre derived from times of diffuclty such as The Great Depression. Its German Expressionist style exhibits low key lighting, shadows, and acting that captivates audiences.

The Link above will send you to the shot by shot analysis analyzed in Double Indemnity.

At this point Walter Neff knows the master plan has backfired, he let his emotions decide his fate. For a character like Walter this is especially taboo because his profession of Insurance was designed for someone is looking to deceit for a gain.

Establishing shot- Pacific All Risk Insurance.

LS- This scene begins with the protagonist having been shot trying to leave the building where he works and has just been caught for insurance fraud. As he is trying to leave through the door his body begins to give out. The non-diegetic sound accompanying the film is somber and letting the audience know it isn’t ending pretty for Walter.

MS- The camera angle is now a medium shot and and closer to the ground since the protagonist has now fallen to the floor due to his injury. You can literally see the sweat on his face, yet he still tries to make a joke to his boss about the current situation.
The wittiness of all the characters in this film is evident. As the scene progresses it is now two characters in the scene, so the camera tracks out some so both can fit in the frame.

The scene ends and the film for that matter end off somewhat ambiguous. As a viewer you don’t know if he lives or dies all we know is that he did the crime so he must pay the time. This is particularly important in Noir films, the sense of punishment. The moral is important just as the sound, dialogue, camera angeles, etc.

Double Indemnity is a treat to watch and is highly recommendable!

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2 Comments so far

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