Book versus film

I never thought I’d say this about a film but I think I prefer Billy Wilder’s version of  Double Indemnity to James M.Cain’s book. But then the screenplay was written by Raymond Chandler so the film had the benefit of another crime writing mastermind.

“I’ll won’t you hang, baby.”

Not a particularly good example but…why don’t men and women talk to each other like that in films no more? I can’t remember the last time I heard witty exchanges like those between Walter and Phyllis in a mainstream film. Although I can actually think of plenty of good reasons why it’s probably better we don’t talk like we’re in the 1930s, I don’t mind suspending my better judgement for an hour and a half.

Edward G. Robinson (What kind of a name is that? Leonardo D. Caprio? It would never work…) also seems to be able to light a match with just his thumb. I’m a fan. I was particularly impressed by the ending when Keyes lights Neff’s last-gasp cigarette for him. All the way through the film, Neff provides a light for him, he even says “Don’t you know you can get matches when you buy cigars? All you have to do is ask.” Keyes claims to hate matches so it’s effective when he takes the match off Neff and gives him a light. No wonder people grew up thinking cigarettes were sophisticated, it’s a perfect symbol of masculine solidarity. It indicates a bond but requires no display of emotion on either part. Not that there is anything remotely dignified in having to have one of your lungs removed but that’s another matter…


2 responses to “Book versus film

  • Katie

    Hey cookie.
    Just noticed there’s a “buy” missing between can and matches in that quote.
    Interesting to read even though I know nothing about either the book or the film. You’re always interesting!

    You can delete this after you’ve read it if you don’t want my criticism hanging around :p

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