Movie: Double Indemnity

“Paramount’s shocking, suspense-filled masterpiece of love…and murder.”

While I have been a film noir lover for years now, somehow, I had never sat down and watched Double Indemnity. Of course, after finally renting it, I saw how spectacular of a film I had been missing all these years.

Visually, Double Indemnity is amazing, it is absolutely the king of film noir classics. The use of the venetian blinds to continually cast their shadows upon each scene as well as the femme fatale using the protagonist insurance salesman to do her will is all signature noir style.

The story itself that was the basis for the picture is a 1927 crime committed by a married Queens women and her lover. The scandal was turned into fiction by author, James Cain. Later, Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder co-adapted the tale into the screenplay. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, but didn’t take home any statues.

Fred MacMurray, who portrays the insurance salesman, Walter Neff is first-rate in the role. He is likable, and makes you feel sorry for him even after he has committed murder and is deserving of whatever the fates throw at him. His narration throughout the film is fantastic, I enjoyed it just as much as his moments with the conniving wife and his boss, Keyes.

Barton Keyes, Neff’s insurance investigator supervisor was played by the excellent Edward Robinson. Robinson was well known for his spectacular performance as the title role of the ambitious criminal Rico in the movie, Little Caesar in 1931. He does an amazing job as the determined Keyes in Double Indemnity whose gut instincts seem to never fail to lead him to the truth.

Our femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson performed by Barbara Stanwyck puts on a stunning portrayal. She is alluring and convincing in the role as the motivated wife. It isn’t difficult to see why she is nominated for her third Academy Award for Best Actress in the picture, as she more than deserved the honor.

All in all, I would recommend the movie highly to anyone who is wanting to see some of the best Hollywood has had to offer through the years. Double Indemnity is easily one of the best films ever made, without hesitation, without a doubt one that should be a part of any movie buff’s collection.

Female serial killers

Being a fan of crime noir and true crime, I find a lot of the elements of crime investigation and the psychology of crime and the actual committing of it to be very compelling. That said, I’m intrigued by serial killers. They fascinate me, the ins and outs of their minds, just what makes them do the insane things they do.

Women serial killers are rare because the number of them are far less than male killers. Maybe this fact is why they interest me more so. Female serial killer are also more likely to get away with their crimes for years seeing as how their crimes have different motivations than their male counterparts. Men are generally more violent and aggressive than women, thus there being more men serial killers.

Interesting women serial killers include:

Rosemary West
Rosemary West sadistically murdered and tortured twelve young women with the aid of her husband, Fred West from April 1973 until August 1979. The duo would drive around the Gloucester, England area searching for young girls. Once they found what they were looking for, the couple would take them back to their home, have sex with them, torturing them in the process, and once they were done, kill them. It is said that their own daughter, Heather was the reason for their horrible crimes. The couple believed their daughter’s sexual appetite and sadomasochistic tendencies were to blame for the tortures and murders they committed. Heather too became a victim of her parents’ sick torturous and sadistic sexual atrocities.
The pair was finally arrested in 1994, nearly twenty years after the murders had taken place. The remains of the victims were discovered buried underneath the couples home. The husband Fred, ended up committing suicide while in custody. Rosemary however, was convicted of ten counts of murder in 1995. She is eligible for parole when she is 66 years old, which is 2019.

Aileen Wuornos
Aileen was a deeply psychologically troubled women. From a young age, she engaged in sex with multiple partners, including her own brother. She was pregnant by the age of 14, a pregnancy she claimed was the result of a rape. Shortly after giving birth, Wuornos dropped out of school, left home and took up hitch-hiking and prostitution.
She killed at least seven men between December 1989 and September 1990, claiming that the men either raped or attempted to rape her and in murdering them, she was practicing self-defense. The police caught up to her through pawn shop cards where she left her thumbprint on while pawning items belonging to victims.
Wuornos was sentenced to death by lethal injection for her crimes and became the second Florida woman to be executed. She was formally put to death on October 9, 2002. Her final words were, “I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”

Juana “La Mataviejitas” Barraza
Known as “The Silent Lady,” she killed ten, but could be as many as forty. Juana would knock on the doors of the elderly in Mexico City during the 1990s portraying a social worker. Once she gained entrance to the victim’s home, she would strangle them with whatever was handy, a phone cord, sock or what have you. She would do this until blood oozed from the victim’s ears, ensuring they were dead.
She was apprehended in 2006, shortly after strangling and 82-year-old with a stethoscope. The authorities caught her close by the mark’s home. The police had trouble determining if the killer was male or female due to the force she used on her victims. They were unsure if they were looking for a man dressed as a female or a woman dressed as a man.
Barraza was sentenced to 759 years in prison for the murders.

Movie: Bonnie & Clyde

Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

Bonnie & Clyde poster

Being a big fan of old classics, especially crime films, it’s pretty obvious I would want to see this movie. Of course, one would have assumed I would have taken in it’s greatness long ago, but alas, you would be wrong. Unfortunately, there are many a film on my “must-see” list that have gathered dust through the years. Thankfully, a brief day of sickness from work gave me just the opportunity to sit down and take in “Bonnie & Clyde.”

Right off, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are magnificent in the movie, no question. The duo perform their roles as the outlaws superbly. It’s no wonder the picture took home two Oscars as well as numerous other awards and nominations, as everything about it is amazing.

The film starts right off with the odd introduction of Bonnie and Clyde. Their first encounter is as bizarre as their relationship would continue to be right up until their death, each being hit by forty bullets a piece during the ambush. We get to see their relationship grow throughout their rampage through six states, Clyde’s love for Bonnie never wavering one bit. Their romance was truly like no other.

Definitely worth mentioning is Gene Hackman. He puts on a great performance as Clyde’s brother, Buck Barrow. Buck is as menacing as his brother Clyde, having already been involved in his own criminal endeavors before the Barrow gang days. Hackman, who rarely disappoints in a role, is in my opinion, is best when he is portraying bad guys. He is just one of those actors who you want to see as the villain.

I highly recommend checking out this classic film for anyone who is a crime fan or just curious about the Barrow gang’s rampage during the Great Depression. The movie broke many a “rule” during the 60s when it was made, with all the sex and violence it portrayed, thus making it a landmark accomplishment in film making.