August 23, 1991 |
Phyllis Dietrichson's anklet is the most celebrated article of fetish jewelry in the history of American movies. It was brazenly worn by one Miss Barbara Stanwyck who played La Dietrichson in the so-steamy-it's-hard-boiled film Double Indemnity (1944). In this legendary Billy Wilder picture (co-written by none other than Raymond Chandler!), The Anklet makes its entrance a few delectable seconds before The Dame. This charm bracelet for the leg is cinched above a particularly naughty-looking ankle-strapped, high-heeled sandal, and by the time The Dame appears, Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray in his greatest role)
January 15, 1999 |
Bleeding from a bullet wound, Walter Neff staggers from his car into an office and begins telling his story to a dictation machine. What he has to say gives us the perfect film noir about an attempt at the perfect murder in Double Indemnity. The 1944 movie fulfilled the promise of its imposing credits. Directed by Billy Wilder from a James M. Cain story adapted for the screen by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, Double Indemnity is also perfectly cast. Among the long parade of Hollywood femmes fatales, no one was more drop-dead effective than Barbara Stanwyck, in one of her finest roles as Phyllis Dietrichson.
March 4, 1994 |
I've often wondered why people in movies like "Double Indemnity" act as though they've never seen movies like "Double Indemnity. " "China Moon" stars Ed Harris as a world-weary police detective ("I'm all surprised out," he says) who begins an affair with a stunning woman (Madeleine Stowe) trapped in an unhappy marriage to a brute whom she mentions she'd like to kill, possibly because of his outrageously bad Southern accent. It's right about this point where you figure the guy would say to himself, "You know, this reminds me of that movie with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck.
August 12, 1991 |
"No, I never loved you, Walter - not you or anybody else. I'm rotten to the heart. I used you, just as you said. That's all you ever meant to me - until a minute ago, when I couldn't fire that second shot. " - Love finds Barbara Stanwyck, moments before Fred MacMurray returns fire and kills her, in Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity. " It wasn't easy, in those long-gone golden days of black-and-white movies, for a gal to be tough. If she was a pistol-packin' mama, she paid the price - it being a generation before "Police Woman" et al. were licensed to kill.
January 18, 1990 |
The Folcroft Borough Council has avoided arbitration over police salaries by approving a three-year contract that includes a $4,000 pay raise for each of the eight full-time borough police officers. The council approved the contract, 4-1, at a special meeting Friday night. Councilman James Batty cast the dissenting vote, saying the terms of the contract "were excessive. " Council Vice President George Altman and Councilman Roy Gorson were absent. Council President Helen D'Angelo said she was pleased that the council's police committee and police had come to an amicable agreement before the arbitration deadline, which was Monday.
December 31, 1991 |
Federal authorities said that Cecelia Wadley had a holiday surprise in mind for her husband: It was going to cost $2,000 and had to be delivered by New Year's. But the surprise, they said, was a murder contract, and a federal magistrate judge yesterday ordered Wadley held without bail pending trial even after her husband, Clifford, indicated that he didn't want to see her behind bars. "He doesn't want to see her locked up," defense attorney David McColgin told U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard A. Powers 3d as Wadley, 49 - dressed in a floral-print skirt, gray sweatshirt and sneakers - sat quietly in the courtroom.
April 26, 1986 |
Billy Wilder made Garbo laugh, Fred MacMurray a murderer and Jack Lemmon a drag queen. The legendary writer/director, celebrated for dry wit, sparkling cynicism and the rosy blush of his eroticism, is responsible for an immodestly high proportion of movies regarded as Hollywood classics. Ninotchka (1939). Double Indemnity (1944). Sunset Boulevard (1950). Some Like It Hot (1959). The Apartment (1960). And that's only a handful. Few Hollywood filmmakers have provided so many with so much extraordinary pleasure.
April 25, 1986 |
They had faces then - and they really talked, often using words in a glib, literate way. Billy Wilder flourished during the 1930s, '40s and '50s, when stars were Stars, and he provided them with things to do and say that made them instantly recognizable as people and yet kept them a bit beyond us. In a Billy Wilder movie, the ordinary was something extraordinary. And his trademark was cynicism, perhaps ahead of its time in the '30s but right on the mark today. It is fitting that Wilder's work of 30, 40, 50 years ago will be honored in the '80s - specifically, tomorrow night at 9:30 on Channel 3, when NBC presents "The American Film Institute Salute to Billy Wilder.
May 14, 2004 |
IN AN ATTEMPT to impress the husky-voiced Kathleen Turner at the Cannes Film Festival, Quentin Tarentino told her he preferred her 1980 noir film "Body Heat" to the 1944 Barbara Stanwyck classic "Double Indemnity. " "I think even ["Body Heat" director] Lawrence Kasdan would be surprised to hear you say that," Turner responded, the New York Post's Page Six reported yesterday. Tattle is also surprised. To quote Walter Neff, the evil hero in "Double Indemnity" played by a pre-Disneyfied Fred MacMurray, "Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?"
January 22, 1990 |
Barbara Stanwyck, who died during the weekend, made her last film in 1964, but she found a new generation of fans with her television roles, including her portrayal of the matriarch in the Western series "The Big Valley. " Although nominated four times for Academy Awards during her 36-year big screen career, Stanwyck never won an Oscar for her acting. She was awarded a special Oscar in 1982 for lifetime achievement, and she earned three TV Emmy awards. Stanwyck, whose films included "Double Indemnity," "Stella Dallas," "Sorry, Wrong Number" and "Ball of Fire," died Saturday of congestive heart failure at 81. The actress displayed a versatile talent in her 83 movies and was reputed to be one of the easiest stars to work with.