A Few Words About A few words about...™ Double Indemnity -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,955
    Likes Received:
    403
    Real Name:
    Joel Henderson
    I seem to recall hearing MCA junked all the Onegs of the pre-1948 Paramount catalog when they aquired it in the early 50s.
     
  2. Martin_Teller

    Martin_Teller Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    58
    Real Name:
    Martin Teller
    I dunno who that blogger is or where he got his (mis)information, but no one calls Double Indemnity the first film noir. The Maltese Falcon usually gets that honor, but as bigshot said, I'd go back to Stranger on the Third Floor.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    29,449
    Likes Received:
    4,815
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    There is even some dispute about Stranger on the Third Floor being the first one.
     
  4. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,873
    Likes Received:
    885
    Real Name:
    Robin
    There is indeed, particularly as the only part with real merit is the nightmare sequence. Many people believe You Only Live Once (1937) has a much stronger claim.
     
  5. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2000
    Messages:
    1,007
    Likes Received:
    135
    I recognize that Turner Classic Movies may not be a "scholarly" citation; nevertheless, here is a sentence from a TCM article about Double Indemnity:

    Critics have argued whether or not this movie can be considered the first film noir thriller, but it undoubtedly set the pattern for that distinctive post-war genre: a shadowy, nighttime urban world of deception and betrayal usually distinguished by its "hard-boiled" dialogue, corrupt characters and the obligatory femme fatale who preys on the primal urges of an ordinary Joe hungry for sex and easy wealth.

    http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/86524%7C0/Double-Indemnity.html

    The authors of the paper at this site may have been students; in other words, I do not know their credentials.

    http://www.ualr.edu/anblair/docs/auteurreport.pdf

    Here is the relevant quote:

    Double Indemnity was credited as being the first film noir

    This next citation *could* (I'm honestly not sure) be considered "scholarly":

    DOUBLE INDEMNITY is sometimes considered the first "film noir," although the idea of
    which is first is rather foolish considering that the category was invented after the factthat
    is, it is applied retroactively to films before the term was used. Of particular
    importance is the narrative quality of the film, the use of the dub over (the "behind the
    picture" narrator), the femme fatale, and the cynicism that prevails in the film. In this
    film, the narrator is dying. Later, Billy Wilder, the director, used a dead narrator in
    SUNSET BOULEVARD. What are the contributions to "film noir" conventions that
    Wilder made?

    https://koppa.jyu.fi/kurssit/72339/materiaalikansio/Film%20Noir%20Syllabus.pdf
     
  6. AshJW

    AshJW Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    Real Name:
    Thomas
    Sure thing, Double Indemnity is "film noir".

    This book even put it on it's cover:
    [​IMG]I read it at the moment. :)
    This one could be the english version, it's from the same publisher (Taschen)

    ---

    Yesterday I watched "Dead Men don't wear Plaid".
    Wonderful homage to all the films noirs.
     
  7. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2000
    Messages:
    1,007
    Likes Received:
    135
    ^ The debate (which I hope is a friendly debate) is not whether Double Indemnity is a film noir, but whether it actually is - or has just been called - the *first* film noir.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    29,449
    Likes Received:
    4,815
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Aren't all debates here friendly? ;)
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    29,449
    Likes Received:
    4,815
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    I consider The Maltese Falcon the first film noir, but that's my opinion.
     
  10. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    1,822
    Likes Received:
    1,124
    Location:
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Rob Ray
    And I hardly consider The Maltese Falcon a noir at all, because although Mary Astor is a femme fatale, she doesn't lead the hero to his doom. Bogart largely stays firmly in control of the situation throughout and never falls for her tricks.
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    29,449
    Likes Received:
    4,815
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    That's why this is such an interesting discussion because I'm pretty sure all of us have at least one film we consider film noir, but doesn't meet every film noir prerequisite, especially those films made before film noir was defined as a genre.
     
    ahollis, Jack K and Rob_Ray like this.
  12. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    237
    Real Name:
    David
    Yep, that is true. I don't necessarily think the femme fatale always has to lead to the complete downfall of the man. I too think I might go with The Maltese Falcon, but I think these were all movies that contributed to and inspired the form.
     
  13. davidHartzog

    davidHartzog Cinematographer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Messages:
    2,832
    Likes Received:
    801
    Real Name:
    John smith
    Excellent BD transfer, thanks Universal.
     
  14. Martin_Teller

    Martin_Teller Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    58
    Real Name:
    Martin Teller
    A femme fatale is not a necessary ingredient of a film noir. In fact, if you look at the genre (or movement, as I prefer to think of it) as a whole, you'll find that the majority of the films don't have a femme fatale.

    The fun (and sometimes frustrating) thing about noir is that everyone has a different definition of it. I agree very much with this sentiment: "the idea of which is first is rather foolish considering that the category was invented after the fact, that is, it is applied retroactively to films before the term was used." Still, it seems pretty short-sighted to call Double Indemnity the first.

    Calling it the best film noir, however, I have no problem with :)
     
  15. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,048
    Likes Received:
    634
    Real Name:
    Stephen
    I think of Double Indemnity and Postman Always Rings Twice as the most quintessential film noirs. They have every one of the aspects going.But noir started earlier and developed a while. Stranger on the Third Floor has an awful lot of key elements. It's clearly a noir film. I'll check out You Only Live Once. Thanks for the tip.
     
    Mark Walker and Robin9 like this.
  16. RKR1970

    RKR1970 Agent

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    1
    Paramount junked the Black & White nitrate elements in the1980’s, not MCA/Universal. The original deal delivered one safety 35mm fine grain and an optical track for each title to EMKA (MCA) in 1958, not the original negatives. On the 3 strip titles, MCA did get the original camera negatives but the Black & White nitrate originals are all gone. Nitrate prints survive at UCLA on many Paramount titles and are used, along with nitrate elements from the BFI for restoration by Universal (or UCLA).


     
  17. RickardL

    RickardL Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    4
    Robert, did you review (write A Few Words...about ) the UK blu-ray release?
     
  18. Dave B Ferris

    Dave B Ferris Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2000
    Messages:
    1,007
    Likes Received:
    135
    On occasion, I've heard fans of "Mildred Pierce" classify "Mildred Pierce" as a film noir. I've wondered whether those fans think that, today, film noir is a more prestigious (or maybe recognizable?) label for a film than "melodrama" or "women's picture"?
     
  19. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2004
    Messages:
    1,822
    Likes Received:
    1,124
    Location:
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Rob Ray
    MILDRED PIERCE is lit noirishly, it's based on a novel by noir favorite James Cain and Ann Blyth's character would be right at home in a film noir, but it's another woman (her mother) who is taken in by her selfish schemes and there's a lot of melodrama. It's borderline, as is LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN.
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    29,449
    Likes Received:
    4,815
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    There is a lot of melodrama, but it has enough film noir feeling to it that I liken it more to that genre than melodrama.
     
    ThadK likes this.

Share This Page