Presentation on theme: "Double Indemnity. Novella by James M. Cain Published 1935, eight-part serial in Liberty Magazine Hard-boiled school of crime fiction – Cynical, first-person."— Presentation transcript:
Novella by James M. Cain Published 1935, eight-part serial in Liberty Magazine Hard-boiled school of crime fiction – Cynical, first-person narrator – Blurred line between “good” and “evil”
Screenplay by Chandler and Wilder Screenplay, 1944 Collaboration between director Billy Wilder and crime-fiction writer Raymond Chandler Movie stars Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, and Edward G. Robinson Seven Academy Award nominations Classic film noire movie
A Comparison of Two Dialogues Cain’s novella- -Keyes, Neff, and insurance company president Norton in Norton’s office. “Listen, Mr. Norton. When a man takes out an insurance policy, an insurance policy that’s worth $50,000 if he’s killed in a railroad accident, and then three months later he is killed in a railroad accident, it’s not on the up-and-up. It can’t be. If the train got wrecked it might be, but even then it would be mighty suspicious coincidence. A mighty suspicious coincidence. No, it’s not on the up-and-up. But it’s not suicide.” “Then what do you mean?” “You know what I mean.” “…Murder?” “I mean murder.” “Well, wait a minute, Keyes, wait a minute. Wait till I catch up with you. What have you got to go on?” “Nothing.” “You must have something.” “I said nothing. Whoever did this did a perfect job. There’s nothing to go on. Just the same, it’s murder.” “Do you suspect anybody?” “The beneficiary of such a policy, so far as I am concerned, is automatically under suspicion.” “You mean the wife?” “I mean the wife.” “She wasn’t even on the train.” “Then somebody else was.” “Have you any idea who?” “None at all.” “And this is all you have to go on?” “I told you, I have nothing to go on. Nothing but those tables and my own hunch, instinct, and experience. It’s a slick job, but it’s no accident, and it’s no suicide.” “Then what are we going to do?” “I don’t know. Give me a minute to think.” He took a half hour to think. Chandler/Wilder Screenplay-- Keyes talking to Neff at Neff’s apartment. KEYES. Look. A man takes out an accident policy that is worth a hundred thousand dollars, if he is killed on a train. Then, two weeks later, he is killed on a train. And not in a train accident, mind you, but falling off some silly observation car. Do you know what the mathematical probability of that is, Walter? One out of I don’t know how many billions. And add to that the broken leg. It just can’t be the way it looks, Walter. Something has been worked on us. NEFF. Such as what? Keyes doesn’t answer. He goes on pacing up and down. Finally, Neff can’t stand the silence any longer. NEFF. Murder? KEYES (prodding his stomach again). Don’t you have any peppermint or anything? NEFF. I’m sorry. (After a pause) Who do you suspect? KEYES. Maybe I like to make things easy for myself. But I always tend to suspect the beneficiary. NEFF. The wife? KEYES. Yeah. That wide-eyed dame that didn’t know anything about anything. NEFF. You’re crazy, Keyes. She wasn’t even on the train. KEYES. I know she wasn’t, Walter. I don’t claim to know how it was worked, or who worked it, but I know that it was worked. (He crosses to the corridor door.) I’ve got to get to a drug store. It feels like a hunk of concrete inside me.