Notes on film: Double Indemnity

9 October 2008

“I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman.”

Not only is Double Indemnity one of the archetypal films known as film noir but it is regarded by many as the first true film noir. It is also one of the best. The characters, scenario and stylistic elements of Double Indemnity all perfectly represent this group of Hollywood films from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. The dark tone of Double Indemnity, both visually and thematically, the anti-hero who is led astray by greed and lust, and the seductive yet deadly femme fatale are all essential film noir ingredients.

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Notes on film: The Blue Angel

8 October 2008

“A little flirting is alright but always remember she’s a predator.”

The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel) is one of Germany’s most significant films. It is reportedly the first German sound film and when it was made the filmmakers simultaneously made a (superior) German language version and an English language version. It was made towards the end of the Weimar Republic period (1919-1933) and contains many of the characteristics of German Expressionism, a style that dominated the era, in particular the fantasy, horror and science fiction films. But most significantly, The Blue Angel was the first film that director Josef von Sternberg worked on with Marlene Dietrich. Their pairing is still regarded as one of the all time great director/actor collaborations in film history. Together they created Dietrich’s unique star persona, a mixture of masculinity and femininity, sensuality and stylised camp.

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