The most powerful country in the world. The U. S. A went through a period of immense depression in the 1930's. Millions of American citizens were unemployed.
Americas business's was under a financial crisis. In the40's things got worse as the isolated America was at war. This lased a fourteen year period and after the was things was looking up to America as they became financially superior by helping countries rebuild after the war by providing materials. America was the real winner of this war but it brought more than they wanted.
America was no longer isolated which brought round a sense of paranoia which came mostly from the thought of communism. With this German expression films were introduced which is more likely know as Film Noir. The film noir genre is a very contrasting one. It uses simple methods to represent styles of characters and the general setting of the film.
This genre usually involves things like contrasting light effects which are usually black and white. Black represents evil in this genre and this I used often to represent places and characters.The white is the opposite of black which represents a good side of the genre. Also, film noir relays on the dramatic uses of lighting to create impact and effective moods in the film as the film genre was quite old they did not have the use of special effects so they had to use natural effects to create sensation. Also, the film noir genre has many typical conventions about it and the main one has to be the characters involved and the costumes that they wear.
The most important character in the "femme fatale" as she creates most of the action in these films and creates all the emotional distress. The "femme fatale" is the female character that usually is seen as a cruel woman as she uses people to get anything she wants in life. The "femme fatal" is the character that causes all the action and manages to pull other characters into the situation she has created. Also the typical "femme fatale" can be recognised in the film by the clothes that she wears.She wears tight fitting clothes for the purpose of catching her victims' eye; she also wears an anklet which is made very distinctive in the film.
However, "Double Indemnity" displays the "femme fatale" or known in this film as Phillis Dietrichson in a very stereotypical film noir fashion, She has the characteristic to suit the role and the costume she wears is very stereotypical as she has the anklet which draws attention to her and the tight fitting clothes which make her irresistible to the men she tries to get involved with.However, there are a range of characters that you will find in film noir and the one that is important to the plot of the story is the victim hero who is involved with the "femme fatale" in some way. The victim hero is a smart man that has his wits about himself but somehow although he is headstrong is leaded in by the "femme fatale". The victim hero is usually the person that is doing something for a woman and it ends up getting highly confused and he finds himself in a situation that he cannot cope with. The victim hero is a respectable man which shows thought the clothes that he wears.
He wears a suit which suits his personality of respectable but also usually has something to do with his job something that involves good appearance such as a salesman. "Double Indemnity" shows this in the victim hero called Walter Neff. He is a very respectable man in this play but falls into the "femme fatales" hands and he ends up doing something all for nothing. Walter Neff wears the typical victim heroes costume by wearing a suit showing that before he got involved with the "femme fatale" he was respectable at some point in his life.However, the character that seems to be the real hero in the film noir genre is known as the seeker hero.
The seeker hero usually knows the victim hero quite well in these films and ends up being the real hero by finding out what the "femme fatale" lead the victim hero to do. The seeker hero is wise character which knows all the tricks of the trade and knows the game of business very well. The seeker hero wears a suit showing he is decent man. His suit is tight fitting but yet his clothing style is coordinated.
Barton Keyes is the seeker hero in "Double Indemnity" but he is a rebellious seeker hero. He is also the character that manages to resist the "femme fatale because of his headstrong ways. He is wears a tight suit but does not wear the waistcoat to go with it showing a rebel side of him also in this film he is very rebellious to his boss and always does what he wants, not what anybody else says. Also, he is a headstrong character and does not go by the rules as he is prepared to investigate things by himself with no supervision.
His clothing style was also casual taking in to account of the time that this movie was made which means everybody wore that type of clothing showing that he is just another man and because he has a good job it does not make him any different from others around him. Also, there is another character put into this genre so it is not so gloomy and morbid. This character is the nurturing female who takes the tension and suspense away from the play just for a few vital minutes. The nurturing female is the opposite of the "femme fatale" so there is contrast in this film which all film noir must have some form of contrast between characters.
Lola is the character that brings comfort to "double indemnity". She wears a light comfortable dress which represents her character of being light and easy. When Lola is in the film it is the only time that it is day not night showing contrast of good and evil between Lola and Phillis. On the over hand, film noir uses other stereotypical conventions such as the way the film is told and point of view it is from.
There are many conventions that are to do with the narrative side. The most popular is the voice over technique which is where the story is being told by someone which is usually the victim hero. Double Indemnity" is no exception this story is told from Walter Neff's point of view and he is looking back on what he has done and realises that he has gained nothing for committing murder for a women. The style that Walter tells the story is like a confession as he is taping what he is saying for Barton Keyes benefit: "Yes, I killed him.
I killed him for money and for a woman. " Also, the story that Walter tells with the voice over he does is told in first person which is something else that film noir always seem to have in it.The film noir genre always seems to be told from the victim heroes' point of view: "I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it? " This gives the audience to experience how the victim hero was feeling and how he reacted to situations differently and it also gave the story more meaning to it seeing it through Walter's eyes.
However, the narrative conventions don't just help tell the story they are actually part of it such as the use of flashbacks which makes the audience active when watching this film.It also means that they have to keep watching this film otherwise it will confuse you by using these flashbacks. Also the use of dialogue in this film is important. It is very fast and clever in some ways. They use methods to get the point of sexual conversation across because at the time this film was made there were certain legislations.
This film got around these by using clever wording and playing on theses words such as the famous phrase "Straight down the line," is a clever pun on the way that Mr. Dietrichson will die in this play.