American History Movies

Double Indemnity & The Noir-ing of Film

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Cold-blooded murder has been around ever since Cain slaughtered his brother Abel in history’s first sibling rivalry. It just took Hollywood a few thousand years to come along and show us the seedy underside of humanity in an artistic way that allowed voyeurs to eat popcorn while they watched.

With such strict restrictions on content in movies through the 1930s and beyond it’s surprising that film noir emerged when it did in the mid 1940s. But apparently it was okay to show murder as long as the morality of violence emerged. Justice must be served. Because that will show people.

On The Gush this week Melissa and I take on the granddaddy of hard-boiled crime dramas–Double Indemnity. This film paved the way for Humphrey Bogart’s cigarette-dangling detective roles and if you follow it all the way I guess Law & Order (Dng Dng!)

The first time I ever saw Fred MacMurray (also famous for My Three Sons) was in The Absent-Minded Professor when I was a little kid and we still had VHS tapes. And video rental stores now that I think of it. Little did I know I would one day become a real life absent-minded professor or that Fred MacMurray’s best movie work was not for Disney but as a scheming, murderous adulterer.

Do you like gritty crime dramas? 

Classic Movie Gush is a regular feature in which we revisit/introduce classic movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Catch up on all the movies we’ve talked about by visiting the Official Classic Movie Gush Page.

By Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.