6 March 2012
The film Double Indemnity _________ the classic Film Noir conventions and characteristics. From the very beginning of the film, the audience is introduced to a setting of a dark city night, with streetlights creating reflections off the water gleaming from the pavement. The mood is enhanced through German expressionalism; almost completely dark lighting was used as well as vertical lines to enhance drama and mood. In one scene, the blinds of a window shadows Walter’s face to appear as prison bars, this lighting technique was used to enhance the idea of Walter feeling imprisoned and trapped. The characters Phyllis and Walter are often standing in shadows throughout the film, which create a hopeless and fatalistic mood, which in turn emphasize what is happening in the plot. The shadows also enhance the idea that film noir focuses more on the environment and feeling rather than the actor or plot. The film also uses a great amount of narrative dialogue as Walter narrates his past actions; flashbacks were used which is a classic convention of Film Noir. These stylistic techniques used throughout the film enhance the overall vibe and mood of Double Indemnity. Other Film Noir conventions seen in Double Indemnity are the emphases of male comratory, the death of the femme fatale and the theme of paranoia. Male comratory is shown between the characters of Walter and Keyes. Throughout the film, Walter lights Keyes’ cigarette as a sign of respect and power, at the end of the film the role is reversed and Keyes lights Walter’s cigarette when he is weak. The male relationship was more emphasized on, rather than the relationship between Walter and Phyllis. This shows that male comratory is strong and lasting while relationships between male and females crumble to pieces. The femme fatale acts as a threat to Walter’s “efficiency”, she is corrupt and in turn corrupts Walter. Sexual tension between the two...
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