Double Indemnity - Kim Hanlon
I really enjoyed the film 'Double Indemnity'. The director had an excellent sense of lighting and mood setting by using camera angles and shadowing in the film. I believe that noir is a genre. The definition of genre is "a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content and technique. This film displays all of these characteristics and is a masterpiece of a film noir.
In this film, there are many uses of the black and darkness as metaphors for moral transgressions and their fall from grace. In the beginning, Phyllis is at Walter's place and they begin discussing their plot about the murder and the scam. The light becomes very dim and you, the audience, can barely see the characters faces. Slight shadows can be seen, but the scene gives off the mood of evil. Another example is the narrative that Walter gives about the murder and the scam. The lights are again very dim, shadows can be slightly seen behind him and they cover part of his face. The director also uses these techniques when Phyllis and Walter conjure up the plan at Walter's place, Phyllis on the phone with Walter while she is at the store talking about the train ride that night and the car scene at Phyllis's house while Walter is on the floor in the backseat. These are only a couple of scenes where the director uses these techniques to portray film noir.
The only minority group that I noticed in the film was the African American man that was washing Walter's car at his apartment. This shows the underlining belief of racism and prejudice against minorities in American. That is how the country was at that time and the writers and director chose to portray that way of life in their film as well. This image of minorities being subservient in the movie has influence on society and helps reinforce this idea.
Phyllis portrays an excellent femme fatale. She seduces Walter to kill her husband and all the while 'plays' Walter for this other guy, Nino, and gets him to believe that Lola does not love him. She is the criminal mastermind behind the film and she was amazing in doing so.
I think Phyllis was a very negative characterization of women. It is another example of a women playing the seducer and the 'poor' man falling for her stunning looks and conniving ways. I believe that it just is another reason for men to blame women for their short comings. It never seems to be the man's fault for not being able to live up to his own decisions. Women are not always cunning and deceitful, but they seem to be portrayed as having those characteristics quite often.
Phyllis comes out as the powerful looking one in the film at the beginning, but soon becomes the poor, helpless, in love woman that can not resist the powerful man that is stepping up to her and trying to run from the problem that he was very much involved in. Once again, the woman becomes the subservient, in the end, to the man.