Films From Literature: Shadow Play

During our last class we viewed the film Double Indemnity, based on the book of the same name. Though there are several differences between the book and the film, the key characters are basically the same. We have two character types that appear in Noir film, the femme fatale, Phyllis and the not so good protagonist, Huff.The film had its share of controversy, taking 8 years before getting made. The main themes of the novel/film include infidelity, murder, and suspense.

Neff/Huff is a insurance salesman that goes door to door. The trouble begins when Neff/Huff meets Phyllis. In the movie she appears slightly under-dressed. In the novel she is in pajamas. Either way, from his narratations it is clear he has more than her husbands auto insurance on his mind. Soon, he is accusing PhyllisNeff uses the situation to enact his wish of getting over on his insurance company. However, it is clear that he is merely a puppet in Phyllis’ plan. As we learn from her step daughter Lola, Phyllis most likely murdered Lola’s mother.

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