Saturday, July 23 - Tuesday, July 26, 2022
“Six years before a Hollywood screenwriter’s corpse narrated Sunset Blvd., a dead-man-walking delivered the hard-boiled voiceover in another Billy Wilder inquiry into moral rot in sunny California. Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), a salesman for Pacific All-Risk Insurance, staggers into the office late one night to record a memorandum regarding the recent death of a policyholder: ‘I killed Dietrichson… for money, and a woman. I didn’t get the money, and I didn’t get the woman.’
“There’s nothing but a towel and a staircase between Neff and the woman when they first meet; Neff pays a house call on Dietrichson’s Spanish-revival pile in LA, where old dust levitates in the bands of light through the Venetian blinds, and he encounters the oil executive’s bored, platinum-blonde second wife, Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck). She’d like to know if she can secretly procure a life insurance policy for her spouse; Neff knows she’s conscripting him for her husband-disposal unit, and he knows that claims manager Barton Keyes (Edward G Robinson) will smell a putrefying rat, but they’ve got power-surge chemistry, and that’s a honey of an anklet she’s wearing…
“As poised and languorous as a cat, Stanwyck’s definitive femme fatale could be one of the savvy minxes of the actress’ delectable Pre-Code years – the jailhouse alpha female in Ladies They Talk About, the secretary trampolining up the office ranks one bed at a time in Baby Face – grown older and harder, her manicured ruthlessness calcifying into brutal amorality. With diamond-hard repartee by Wilder and Raymond Chandler (by way of James M Cain’s novel) and ghoulish cinematography by the great John Seitz, this is the gold standard of ’40s noir, straight down the line.” – Time Out (London)”
Screening as part of the series Movietown: Los Angeles Plays Itself and Other LA Visions.
Save big and see more of the Movietown: Los Angeles Plays Itself and Other LA Visions series with a discount 3-Ticket or 5-Ticket Pack! A discount 3-Ticket Pack is available for $42 general public/$30 member and a 5-Ticket Pack for $60 general public/$45 member. Bring a friend of two to a few screenings or treat yourself to more movies at a better ticket price.
- Year 1944
- Running Time 107 minutes
- Distributor Universal
- Director Billy Wilder
- Accessibility Assistive Listening, T-Coil
IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and DoesTheDogDie.com as well as through general internet searches.