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Film: Double Indemnity (1944)

Monday, March 11 2019
7:00 PM
Sponsored by
KinoNoir is presented on the second Monday of the month through July by Kinonik and SPACE with support from the Maine Humanities Council.

dir. Billy Wilder | 107 min | 1944
Followed by a Q&A

This cinematic classic tells the story of a James M. Cain true crime novel about an insurance salesman who falls for another man’s wife and agrees to help her kill him. Each second Monday of the month, the KinoNoir series explores the human relationships central to film noir and the rumblings of the post-war cultural revolutions through a post-screening Q&A.

Staying faithful to Cain’s novel, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944) is a lesson in rapid fire dialogue and how to bring a memorable femme fatale to the screen. Barbara Stanwyck’s Phyllis and Fred MacMurray’s Walter Neff play a dangerous game from the start – and it’s a grim journey from there. Insurance man MacMurray’s no-nonsense approach to murder and Stanwyck’s coolness make for a chilling look at an amoral universe where insurance payoffs trump life. (In general, helping beautiful women dispose of doltish husbands doesn’t go well for male accomplices in Noir: see Body HeatThe Postman Always Rings Twicethe Last Seduction, etc.) In the end, when Neff’s boss, Edward G. Robinson, figures things out it seems more a victory for actuarial tables than for morality.

About KinoNoir

The winter/spring 2019 noir program is a journey into the dark side of domestic entanglements, with the noir lens focused on darkened living rooms and bedrooms. Looking beyond noir’s usual suspects, the lineup includes kept men, dangerous daughters, obsessive uncles, cheating spouses, sons with mother issues, and criminally inclined clans. While the relationships vary, violence, bad ends, psychological damage, and obsesssions bind the characters. Screenings will be followed by discussions of the intersection of noir sensibilities and domestic relationships. 

Presented in the original 16mm format, this is an important regional opportunity to reconnect with the unique sensory conditions of cinema presented on celluloid film. While recent digital restorations have allowed new audiences to more fully appreciate the quality of the cinematographic vision of classic directors, experiencing the magic tactility of the flicker and hum of traditional filmic media is an integral experience to their presentation. Join us in staying curious and keeping endangered media histories alive and thriving in Portland.

KinoNoir is presented on the second Monday of the month by Kinonik with support from the Maine Humanities Council.

About Kinonik

Kinonik’s mission is to promote and support the study of cinema through theatrical screenings projected from film. Kinonik screens 16mm films from the donated collection of Juris Ubans and donated academic collections; the eclectic selection offers a rich overview of film from the early days of cinema to the 60s. Join us in the shared darkness to rediscover the power of 24 fps communal cinema.

Please see our updated pandemic policy for fall 2021. Indoor events at 538 Congress Street start in October!