Double Indemnity

double indemnityWhen a signature means you’re a dead pigeon and murder smells of honeysuckle you know you’re watching classic film noir!

Released in 1944, Double Indemnity is based on the book of the same name by James M Cain, it’s directed by Billy Wilder and the screenplay is by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder.

Set in 1938, the story is told in a series of flashbacks by Walter Neff, (Fred MacMurray)as he speaks into a dictaphone. An insurance salesman, Neff pays a routine call on Mr. Dietrichson to let him know his policy is due for renewal. But instead of meeting Mr. Dietrichson he meets his wife Phyllis.  Barbara Stanwyck plays the quintessential femme fatale, desirable but dangerous she uses her feminine wiles to manipulate everybody, but mostly Walter Neff. Continue reading “Double Indemnity”

A Voice Through A Cloud

a voice through a cloud“I heard a voice through a great cloud of agony and sickness” so begins this unputdownable memoir of Denton Welch.  Born in 1915, he’s at art school in London when in 1935 he decides to cycle to his uncle’s vicarage in Surrey.  On the way he is hit by a car severely damaging his spine and kidneys. Written in 1948 this memoir recalls the accident and his convalescence.

When his world is reduced to his bed, visiting hours and hospital staff his observations of the daily routine are funny, tragic and acutely observed.  The brusque and efficient nurses are always ready with a “don’t be silly now” or “we don’t want to make a fuss” comment.  His bitterness towards them is told with searing honesty: “I longed to be able to get up, hit Scott, smash the chair to pieces and walk out forever; but I was helpless and in his hands – he could play with me as he liked. The thought was so bitter that it seemed to degrade me in my own eyes. My face stiffened into a dead mask.” Continue reading “A Voice Through A Cloud”