What a film! This fantastic picture stars Fred MacMurray, Barb Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson. I admit I had never seen this one, but it quickly became one of my favorites. Directed by Mr. Wilder, the scene opens to Walter Neff (Fred)walking into his bosses' office to record the story of his life, the story of how he murdered a man for money and a broad, and how it ended up hurting him in the end.
You know its film noir when you can see shadows of he blinds in half the shots!
Neff sells insurance and starts his story at this amazing Spanish style house in LA where he meets his client's wife, Phyllis. She is half naked but gets dressed to come and see what Neff is all about.
BTW, the house is still there...
He gives her the sales pitch with some flirting added in as Phyllis tries not to notice. She mentions she wants accident insurance for her hubby but that she doesn't want him to know about it. She tells him to come back in a few days when her husband is supposedly going to be home. Neff thinks nothing of this conversation and practically drools out the door.
Neff tries to concentrate at work but can't stop thinking about Phyllis. Boss Keyes(Edward) and Neff talk insurance business. Keyes is no nonsense and relies on his gut to help him decide which insurance claims are fraud and which ones are legit. You don't mess with Edward.
"I want to commit adultery!"
Neff comes back to the house and *surprise* hubby isn't there. Phyllis spills the beans that her man is mean and hates her, and is leaving all his money to his daughter from a previous marriage.
I hate blogging about films like this because I don't want to give too much away. This is a rare oldie that keeps you on the edge of your seat! Needless to say, the two fall in love and devise a plan to knock off the husband, make it look like an accident, collect insurance money, and live happy ever after.
The plan seems to work until Keyes hears about it and gets that gut feeling...
Neff is super paranoid and only wants to meet Phyllis at the grocery store.
I want to shop here!
Phyllis goes for the "discrete" look by wearing sunglasses indoors.
Neff is worried the plan is going to fail and Phyllis gets mad that Neff won't hang out with her unless they are purchasing food.
In the end...well... you are going to have to watch this one to find out! Definite cliffhanger moments!
Wilder had no trouble getting male lead for this part, many wanted it including George Raft, Alan Ladd, and Dick Powell. Wilder wanted Barb but she was worried about her reputation playing an adulteress. Wilder asked her," Are you an actress or a mouse?" She was so furious she signed on that instant.