A Comparison Of Two Classic Film Noirs

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A Comparison Of Two Classic Film Noirs Essay, Research Paper The two films I chose to compare and contrast are my two favorite films of the course, Double Indemnity, and The Last Seduction. These films prove that although many years have passed, decades in fact, the plots of many film noirs have stayed the same. Through all the similarities however, the transition from film noirs of the 40’s, and modern film noirs is very much prevalent. These films involve the most intricate of murder plans in any modern movies I have seen, and though the one in The Last Seductions doesn’t exactly go without problems, it could easily have worked had Mike been up for it. These movies are decades apart, but deal with the exact same issue, double indemnity. It’s actually quite shocking,

when I watched both movies back to back, and heard the words “double indemnity” in The Last Seduction. Double Indemnity begins in classic noir style with a sense of something bad to happen immediately when Neff walks into the office, as the music that defines this genre follows him up to where he makes his confession. Neff ’s confession as the narrative for the entire movie makes it very easy to follow the sequence of events, because it is like someone sitting down to tell you a story. The flashbacks to him sitting there, smoking his cigarette as he knows he has been sucked into doing something he wouldn’t ordinarily do capture the true mood of what’s to come. What he also can’t come to grips with is the fact that all this was over a woman. Both men in the movies,

though you only see them after one particular girl, seem to be quite fickle. Walter sees Phyllis at the top of the stares, and almost immediately is at her mercy. The scenes where the men in both movies meet the girls that they think are the women of their dreams, are almost identical. Walter tries to sweet talk Phyllis, but she quickly lets Neff know that she is uninterested, and brings up her husband’s name on which note Neff leaves. Mike first meets “Wendy” in Ray’s Bar after she finds out that Chicago is another 10-12 hours. Mike’s attention immediately turns to Wendy as she rudely orders a drink from the bar, and has some choice words for the owner after he denies her of a drink. After buying her drink for her, that doesn’t turn out to be the spark of the

conversation, due to Wendy’s “hands off” personality. So after an attempt to speak to the frigid woman, he reverts to telling her that he’s “hung like a horse”, on which Wendy checks it out for herself, much to Mike’s surprise. One distinct difference in the two men’s adventures in getting their women, is that Mike had it much easier than Neff. After a few short questions from Wendy, Mike finds himself sleeping with her, while Neff is left to contemplate his future with Phyllis. The four main characters in these movies have their lives turned around in relatively no time at all. Neff is on a regular house call to renew an insurance policy when he suddenly finds a girl that completely changes his personality, and behavior. Mike is sitting in the bar with his

friends, talking about how they shouldn’t get involved with Beston women because they are “anchors”, and then he finds himself waking up next to one. Phyllis, who is very unhappy with her marriage, but doesn’t know quite what to do about it, suddenly is making the decision to end her misery, and is leaving it up to what is basically a complete stranger. Finally, after Wendy is ready to spend the night in Beston, and then move on, she finds herself with a man who she thinks she can talk into doing in her husband. The difference in these two movies is the roles of the genders. In Double Indemnity, Neff is the mastermind behind the entire murder, and Phyllis is just along for the ride until she gets her money. After that, she has the option of ditching the man who got her