Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Favorite Stories--DOUBLE INDEMNITY

When lonely insurance salesman Walter meets seductive Phyllis, the wife of one of his wealthy clients, it takes Walter only minutes to determine she wants to lose her husband. It take him even less time to decide to help her.

Walter knows that accident insurance pays double indemnity on railroad mishaps, so he and Phyllis plot to get hubby on a train. Hard to do without arousing the suspicions of the police, the insurance company, hubby's dishy daughter, her mysterious boyfriend, or hubby himself. But love can conquer all, right Walter?

DOUBLE INDEMNITY, by James M. Cain, is a perfect example of the ordinary-guy-gone-disastrously-wrong story that Cain pulled off brilliantly several times. THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE is another example. Both are considered early classics of noir crime novels used later to make noir films.

Back forty years ago, The Famous Author worked in both of Los Angeles's biggest newsrooms. Cain, Chandler, and Hammett were the writers old newsmen told young newsmen about when the kids said they wanted to write novels. According to at least half of these old rimrats, TFA says, Cain was also the author of TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, which carries the mysterious byline of B. Traven. In TREASURE'S case, of course, the evil force is gold, not a woman.


Rick Bylina said...


Austin Carr said...

I think the great ones are always simple tales. Watching Fred C. Dobbs turn mean and ugly is fascinating, ain't it?