“How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?”

by chuckofish

Come now, you’ve never read an actuarial table in your life, have you? Why they’ve got ten volumes on suicide alone. Suicide by race, by color, by occupation, by sex, by seasons of the year, by time of day. Suicide, how committed: by poison, by firearms, by drowning, by leaps. Suicide by poison, subdivided by *types* of poison, such as corrosive, irritant, systemic, gaseous, narcotic, alkaloid, protein, and so forth; suicide by leaps, subdivided by leaps from high places, under the wheels of trains, under the wheels of trucks, under the feet of horses, from *steamboats*. But, Mr. Norton, of all the cases on record, there’s not one single case of suicide by leap from the rear end of a moving train. And you know how fast that train was going at the point where the body was found? Fifteen miles an hour. Now how can anybody jump off a slow-moving train like that with any kind of expectation that he would kill himself? No. No soap, Mr. Norton. We’re sunk, and we’ll have to pay through the nose, and you know it.

Did you watch Double Indemnity (1944) last night? It was on TCM as part of their Star of the Month–Fred MacMurray–repertoire.

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It is the ultimate noir film and, in my opinion, just a great movie. It is certainly Fred MacMurray’s best movie. And Barbara Stanwyck, although she has seldom looked worse, is terrific.

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Edward G. Robinson, playing against type as is MacMurray, is wonderful in the good guy role.

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However, it is the sharp dialogue and grim, realistic narration written by Raymond Chandler that makes the movie. I mean, no one before or since writes like him. Many have tried, but no one comes close.

It was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Actress, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Music, and Sound. It won nothing. (Why wasn’t Fred nominated? And E. G. R.?) This was the year Going My Way won a bunch–hello, please!–but you know, the war was raging…voters went for sentimentality and breezy Bing Crosby, not a gritty crime drama.

Sigh.

Well, if you missed it, you might want to look it up. It’s a good one.