Monday, November 16, 2009

California Fiction Part 2

Double Indemnity covers the same themes as The Postman Always Rings Twice (which I wrote about earlier today in Back to California Fiction). James M. Cain's narrator-murderer in this one is entirely in control of his choices, though he misjudges his incredibly cold-blooded accomplice. It's a chilling story: the accomplice is an unforgettably awful woman -- beyond description. Similar brief passages of California local color and legal details make the two stories a bit repetitive -- I wish I hadn't read both of them on the same day.

I'd also always heard of the movie Double Indemnity with Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson. I wonder if its director Billy Wilder preserved the timeless quality of the story, which like the other seems less dated than I'd expect.

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