It was raining that night, so I didn’t go out. I lit a fire and sat there, trying to figure out where I was at. I knew where I was at, of course. I was standing right on the deep end, looking over the edge, and I kept telling myself to get out of there, and get quick, and never come back.
But that was what I kept telling myself. What I was doing was peeping over that edge, and all the time I was trying to pull away from it, there was something in me that kept edging a little closer, trying to get a better look. James M. Cain, Double Indemnity
Points to Consider What is the function of the image of the “crippled man” during the credit sequence? Consider narrative structure in the film. What function does Walter’s use of the Dictaphone serve? Consider point of view in the film. With whom is the audience made to identify?
What does Walter want? What does he fear? Describe Walter’s relationships with Phyllis and with Keyes. Consider the use of “doubling,” in which one character “doubles” as, or parallels, another.
What is the vision of American society offered in the film? Consider the tradition of film noir. What themes, images, patterns, or styles does Double Indemnity share with other films in this tradition? Does the film share thematic concerns or styles with any of the other films seen this semester?
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