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The apartment in this film is the bachelor pad of C (for Calvin). C (for Clifford). Baxter. It is located in Manhatten, in the West Sixties, just half a block from Central Park.  But he has a problem: ‘The only problem is – I can’t always get in when I want to’. Well Mr. Baxter is a schmuck, who isn’t overtly ambitious but who thinks he could be upwardly mobile. He is employed in a large impersonal Manhattan insurance firm. He is Bud to most people in the office and with some three years into the company he discovers a surefire formula of succeeding in the corporate world. It has in other ages and all sorts of climes and all over the world worked well, since corporate world began pooling their resources including their morals. Bud is on to a sure thing. He lets out his bachelor pad to four philandering middle-level superiors and it has its problem as I quoted at the beginning.
Tucked between the riproaring farce of Some Like It Hot and the more brittle One, Two, Three, this tragic-comic 1960 classic was Billy Wilder’s last great film. Wilder is as merciless in deflating the greed and amorality of American corporate world as his innate romantic intuition works with two misfits to give the film its bittersweet moments. Reportedly, Wilder was inspired for the film by watching David Lean’s Brief Encounter (1946) with a short scene about a man who vacates his apartment for a couple’s secret tryst (Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson).
The Apartment won five major Academy Awards out of ten nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (co-written by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond), Best B/W Art Direction/Set Decoration, and Best Film Editing.
Plot:
C.C Baxter (Jack Lemmon)  works on the 19th floor of a Manhatten building and he loans his bachelor pads to senior colleagues in the hope of a promotion. He takes fancy for the elevator operator Miss Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) but he dares not make a move.

As he had hoped for, those who had made use of the pad  write glowing reports about him that alerts Personnel director Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) and he suspects something hanky-panky going on behind his back; he lets Baxter’s promotion go unchallenged on condition that Baxter’s apartment accept a fifth regular customer. Still delighted about the promotion, Baxter asks Miss Kubelik to a Broadway show. She agrees, then stands him up. On Christmas Eve, Baxter is astounded to come home and find her in his bed, fully clothed, and overdosed on sleeping pills. Mr. Sheldrake had borrowed the apartment for the evening.

Baxter and his neighbor the doctor keep her alive and safe without notifying the authorities. She explains the background: she had earlier an affair with Mr. Sheldrake but it ended abruptly when his wife returned from vacation. She had under pressure and promises again took up the relationship. But when Sheldrake offered her money instead of a Christmas present she realized she was let down badly that led to the present situation. Baxter tries to comfort her.
Kubelik recuperates in Baxter’s apartment for two days, long enough for her taxi driver brother-in-law to assume the worst of Baxter and come to blows. Sheldrake’s secretary,- and one of his former mistresses, tells Mrs. Sheldrake of her philandering husband. Faced with divorce, Sheldrake moves out but continues to take Kubelik to the apartment. Baxter finally takes a stand when Sheldrake demands the apartment for New Year’s Eve, which results in Baxter quitting the firm. Kubelik realizes that Baxter is the man who truly loves her and tells off Sheldrake on New Year’s Eve. She spends that evening  with Baxter in the apartment. Both are out of job and they are onto a session of gin rummy to pass New Year’s eve. Baxter declares his love for Kubelik, her reply is one of the famous last lines in any movie: “Shut up and deal”.
Wilder’s film is about two mismatched characters who breaks out of their loneliness during the festive season of Christmas: The Gift of Magi told in cinematic terms where love is stronger than their circumstances.

Memorable Quotes:
Dr. Dreyfuss: Be a mensch!

C.C. Baxter: Sorry, Mr. Sheldrake.
J.D. Sheldrake: What do you mean, sorry?
C.C. Baxter: You’re not going to bring anybody to my apartment.
J.D. Sheldrake: I’m not just bringing anybody; I’m bringing Miss Kubelik.
C.C. Baxter: Especially not Miss Kubelik.
J.D. Sheldrake: How’s that again?
C.C. Baxter: [firmly] No key.
J.D. Sheldrake: Baxter, I picked you for my team because I thought you were a very bright young man. Do you realize what you’re doing? Not to me, but to yourself? Normally, it takes years to work your way up to the twenty-seventh floor. But it only takes thirty seconds to be out on the street again. You dig?
C.C. Baxter: I dig.
J.D. Sheldrake: So what’s it going to be?
[Baxter slowly reaches into his pocket for a key and drops it on Sheldrake's desk]
J.D. Sheldrake: Now you’re being bright.
C.C. Baxter: Thank you, sir.
[Baxter goes back into his office, looks around, then reaches into his closet for his coat and hat. Sheldrake comes in moments later]
J.D. Sheldrake: Say, Baxter, you gave me the wrong key.
C.C. Baxter: No, I didn’t.
J.D. Sheldrake: But this is the key to the executive washroom.
C.C. Baxter: That’s right, Mr. Sheldrake. I won’t be needing it because I’m all washed up around here.
J.D. Sheldrake: What’s gotten into you, Baxter?
C.C. Baxter: Just following doctor’s orders. I’ve decided to become a “mensch”. You know what that means? A human being.
J.D. Sheldrake: Now, hold on, Baxter -
C.C. Baxter: Save it. The old payola won’t work anymore. Goodbye, Mr. Sheldrake.
—-
Fran Kubelik: Shall I light the candles?
C.C. Baxter: It’s a must! Gracious living-wise.
—-
C.C. Baxter: The mirror… it’s broken.
Fran Kubelik: Yes, I know. I like it that way. Makes me look the way I feel.
—-

J.D. Sheldrake: Ya know, you see a girl a couple of times a week, just for laughs, and right away they think you’re gonna divorce your wife. Now I ask you, is that fair?
C.C. Baxter: No, sir, it’s very unfair… Especially to your wife.
—-
Fran Kubelik: When you’re in love with a married man, you shouldn’t wear mascara.
—-
C.C. Baxter: That’s the way it crumbles… cookie-wise.
—-
Fran Kubelik: I never catch colds.
C.C. Baxter: Really? I was reading some figures from the Sickness and Accident Claims Division. You know that the average New Yorker between the ages of twenty and fifty has two and a half colds a year?
Fran Kubelik: That makes me feel just terrible.
C.C. Baxter: Why?
Fran Kubelik: Well, to make the figures come out even, if I have no colds a year, some poor slob must have five colds a year.
C.C. Baxter: [sheepishly] Yeah… it’s me.
—-
[last lines]
C.C. Baxter: You hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.
Fran Kubelik: Shut up and deal.
[first lines]
C.C. Baxter: [narrating] On November 1st, 1959, the population of New York City was 8,042,783. If you laid all these people end to end, figuring an average height of five feet six and a half inches, they would reach from Times Square to the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan. I know facts like this because I work for an insurance company – Consolidated Life of New York. We’re one of the top five companies in the country. Our home office has 31,259 employees, which is more than the entire population of uhh… Natchez, Mississippi. I work on the 19th floor. Ordinary Policy Department, Premium Accounting Division, Section W, desk number 861.
—-
C.C. Baxter: Miss Kubelik, one doesn’t get to be a second administrative assistant around here unless he’s a pretty good judge of character, and as far as I’m concerned you’re tops. I mean, decency-wise and otherwise-wise.
—-
C.C. Baxter: Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were.
—-
C.C. Baxter: [in a bar on Christmas Eve, trying to pick Bud up] Night like this, it sorta spooks you, walking into an empty apartment.
—-
C.C. Baxter: I said I had no family; I didn’t say I had an empty apartment.
Fran Kubelik: Just because I wear a uniform doesn’t make me a girl scout.
—-Kirkeby: Say, why don’t we have ourselves a party, the four of us?
C.C. Baxter: No.
[Kirkeby suddenly sees Fran sleeping in the bedroom]
Kirkeby: [laughs] Well, I don’t blame ya. So you hit the jackpot, eh kid? I mean Kubelik-wise.
[Baxter pushes Kirkeby out the door]
Kirkeby: Now don’t worry, I won’t say a word to anybody.
[with the door almost shut, Kirkeby pushes in one last time]
Kirkeby: Stay with it, buddy boy.
—-
Kirkeby: Premium-wise and billing-wise, we are eighteen percent ahead of last year, October-wise.
—-
Fran Kubelik: What’s a tennis racket doing in the kitchen?
C.C. Baxter: Tennis racket? Oh, I remember, I was cooking myself an Italian dinner.
[Fran looks confused]
C.C. Baxter: I use it to strain the spaghetti.
—-
Fran Kubelik: He’s a taker.
C.C. Baxter: A what?
Fran Kubelik: Some people take, some people get took. And they know they’re getting took and there’s nothing they can do about it.
—-
Margie MacDougall: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… nothin’… no action… dullsville!
—-
Fran Kubelik: Would you mind opening the window?
C.C. Baxter: Now don’t go getting any ideas, Miss Kubelik.
Fran Kubelik: I just want some fresh air.
C.C. Baxter: It’s only one story down. The best you can do is break a leg.
Fran Kubelik: So they’ll shoot me – like a horse.
C.C. Baxter: Please, Miss Kubelik, you got to promise me you won’t do anything foolish.
Fran Kubelik: Who’d care?
C.C. Baxter: I would.
Fran Kubelik: Why can’t I ever fall in love with someone nice like you?
—-
Sylvia: You mean you bring other girls up here?
Kirkeby: Certainly not! I’m a happily married man.
—-
Fran Kubelik: I was jinxed from the word go. The first time I was ever kissed was in a cemetery.
Fran Kubelik: Why do people have to love people anyway?
—-
Dr. Dreyfuss: [entering his apartment, he suddenly hears loud music starting from next door] Mildred! He’s at it again.
—-
Fran Kubelik: I’d like to spell it out for you… only I can’t spell!
—-
Fran Kubelik: You fool. You damn fool.
—-
C.C. Baxter: I know how you feel, Miss Kubelik. You think it’s the end of the world — but it’s not, really. I went through exactly the same thing myself.
Fran Kubelik: You did?
C.C. Baxter: Well, maybe not exactly — I tried to do it with a gun.
Fran Kubelik: Over a girl?
C.C. Baxter: Worse than that — she was the wife of my best friend — and I was mad for her. But I knew it was hopeless — so I decided to end it all. I went to a pawnshop and bought a forty-five automatic and drove up to Eden Park — do you know Cincinnati?
Fran Kubelik: No, I don’t.
C.C. Baxter: Anyway, I parked the car and loaded the gun — well, you read in the papers all the time that people shoot themselves, but believe me, it’s not that easy — I mean, how do you do it? — here, or here, or here –
[with cocked finger, he points to his temple, mouth and chest]
C.C. Baxter: — you know where I finally shot myself?
Fran Kubelik: Where?
C.C. Baxter: [indicating kneecap] Here.
Fran Kubelik: In the knee?
C.C. Baxter: Uh-huh. While I was sitting there, trying to make my mind up, a cop stuck his head in the car, because I was illegally parked — so I started to hide the gun under the seat and it went off — pow!
Fran Kubelik: [laughing] That’s terrible.
C.C. Baxter: Yeah. Took me a year before I could bend my knee — but I got over the girl in three weeks. She still lives in Cincinnati, has four kids, gained twenty pounds — she sends me a fruit cake every Christmas.

Directed by     Billy Wilder
Produced by     Billy Wilder
Written by     Billy Wilder
I.A.L. Diamond
Running time     125 min.
Country     U.S.A.
Language     English
Budget     $3,000,000 (est.)
Cast

* Jack Lemmon as C.C. ‘Bud’ Baxter
* Shirley MacLaine as Fran Kubelik
* Fred MacMurray as Jeff D. Sheldrake
* Ray Walston as Joe Dobisch
* Jack Kruschen as Dr. Dreyfuss
* David Lewis as Al Kirkeby
* Hope Holiday as Mrs. Margie MacDougall
* Joan Shawlee as Sylvia
* Naomi Stevens as Mrs. Mildred Dreyfuss
* Johnny Seven as Karl Matuschka
* Joyce Jameson as The blonde
* Willard Waterman as Mr. Vanderhoff
* David White as Mr. Eichelberger
* Edie Adams as Miss Olsen
Similar Movies
How to Murder Your Wife  (1965, Richard Quine)
Made for Each Other  (1939, John Cromwell)
Avanti!  (1972, Billy Wilder)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s  (1961, Blake Edwards)
The Fortune Cookie  (1966, Billy Wilder)
Irma La Douce  (1963, Billy Wilder)
Sabrina  (1954, Billy Wilder)
Office Space  (1999, Mike Judge)
The Graduate  (1967, Mike Nichols)
Singles  (1992, Cameron Crowe)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Some Like It Hot  (1959, Billy Wilder)
The Seven Year Itch  (1955, Billy Wilder)
Love in the Afternoon  (1957, Billy Wilder)
Kiss Me, Stupid!  (1964, Billy Wilder)
One, Two, Three  (1961, Billy Wilder)
Irma La Douce  (1963, Billy Wilder)
Avanti!  (1972, Billy Wilder)
Sette Volte Donna  (1967, Vittorio De Sica)
Other Related Movies
is related to:      Love in the Afternoon  (1957, Billy Wilder)
Buddy Buddy  (1981, Billy Wilder)
Some Like It Hot  (1959, Billy Wilder)

Trivia:
*  Wilder directed Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959). He grew to despise her demands for star treatment and her poor work ethic, and thus included the party-girl Monroe-esque character in this film.

* Billy Wilder also used the character name Sheldrake in Sunset Blvd. (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), and Kiss Me, Stupid (1964).

* Shirley MacLaine was only given forty pages of the script and Wilder added as the film progressed. The gin rummy game was added because at the time she was learning how to play the game from her friends in the Rat Pack. Likewise, when she started philosophizing about love during a lunch break one day, this was also added to the script.

* Paul Douglas was cast as Sheldrake but died before filming began.

* Playwright ‘Neil Simon’ adapted the screenplay as the book for his musical “Promises, Promises”

* Although Adolph Deutsch received sole screen credit for the music score, the very popular “Theme from The Apartment” was actually a pre-existing piece of music (originally “Jealous Lover”, 1949) by British composer Charles Williams, who was known for his scores for British films and BBC radio dramas.

* Shirley MacLaine filmed her famous cameo in Ocean’s Eleven (1960) during a break in filming this movie.

* The name on the door next to Baxter’s office is T.W.Plews. Tom Plews was the prop master.

* The office Christmas party scene was actually filmed on December 23, 1959, so as to catch everybody in the proper holiday mood. Billy Wilder filmed almost all of it on the first take, stating to an observer, “I wish it were always this easy. Today, I can just shout ‘action’ and stand back.”

* This is the first Best Picture Oscar winner to specifically refer to a previous winner, in this case Grand Hotel (1932), which Baxter attempts to watch on television but is too long delayed because of commercials. Bud’s boss also refers to Bud and Fran having “a lost weekend” together in Bud’s apartment, a reference to Billy Wilder’s earlier Oscar winner, The Lost Weekend (1945).

* This was the last B&W movie to win Best Picture at The Academy Awards until Schindler’s List (1993).

* Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time” in 2006.

* In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #80 Greatest Movie of All Time.

* The wool coat Fran wears in various scenes actually belonged to Audrey Young, the wife of Billy Wilder).

* It was said that while filming the scene where C.C. Baxter sleeps in Central Park in the rain, Billy Wilder had to spray Jack Lemmon with anti-freeze to keep him from freezing.

* To get Fran (Shirley MacLaine) to look genuinely startled when her brother-in-law punches Calvin (Jack Lemmon), director Billy Wilder smacked together two pieces of 2×4 during the shoot.
* To create the impression of a very large bureau in the scenes where Baxter is behind his desk, director Billy Wilder used dwarf actors and specially designed furniture.

* The nasal spray used by Jack Lemmon was actually milk. Real nasal spray would not have shown up on camera.

* Billy Wilder claimed that he and I.A.L. Diamond already had Jack Lemmon in mind to play Baxter when they wrote the screenplay. In an interview years later, Lemmon confirmed this.

* The studio wanted Groucho Marx for the role of Dr. Dreyfuss, but Billy Wilder said no, stating that he wanted an actor with more dramatic weight for the part.

•    Promises, Promises, the musical version of The Apartment, opened at the Shubert Theater on December 1, 1968 and ran for 1281 performances.(imdb)

( ack: imdb,all movie, filmsite, wikipedia)

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Double indemnity is a legal term: it is a provision or clause in a life insurance or accident policy whereby the company agrees to pay twice the face of the contract in cases of accidental death. Legalese wording may be dry as dust but Billy Wilder could make it still sparkle as star dust. The pixie magic of movies makes even the tawdry dream of murder for gain seem very possible. It is always fascinating how a decent tax-payer who might balk at the idea of filing false returns laps up films reeking with the basest of human passions as portrayed in Double Indemnity. Having said the above the film is a classic in the film-noir genre and it has became part of the Hollywood mainstream.
The plot is simple: A frowsy housewife ( in a hideous blond wig) weaves a plan to do away her man with the help of an insurance agent and nearly gets away with it.
The movie was based on the true story of Ruth Snyder, the subject of a notorious 1930s murder trial. James M Cain who wrote The Postman Rings Twice improved on the bald facts of the case. His dark novella dealt with greed into which nothing is sacred, marriage or human life while each twist and turn of the story was dealt kinesthetically by Billy Wilder with a gravedigger’s sure touch to turn up dirt. There are other famous talents here: Raymond Chandler had his hand in writing the script along with Wilder. Musical score was from Miklós Rózsa. Barbara Stanwyck was the first choice and when she demurred at the brutal side of her role and expressed her concern to Billy Wilder, he asked her, “Are you a mouse or an actress?” Billy Wilder had a tough time getting a leading man for this film: many actors, including George Raft turned the project down. He had to persuade Fred MacMurray to accept the part. Of course he acquitted himself well in the role of Walter Neff, a salesman for the Pacific All-Risk insurance company. The other principal character is Edward G. Robinson as Barton Keyes, a claims adjuster,a friend and colleague of Neff.

Synopsis:
Walter Neff (MacMurray) is a successful insurance salesman for Pacific All-Risk. But when he returns to his office building in downtown Los Angeles late one night, we know there is something very wrong. Neff is clearly in pain, and he sits down at his desk and tells the whole story into a dictaphone, for his colleague Barton Keyes (Robinson), a claims adjuster.

It is the story of how he meets Phyllis Dietrichson (Stanwyck) during a routine house call to renew an automobile insurance policy for her husband. A cheap affair develops as with a man who has head for figures but his heart is not actively engaged and who knows his senses are inflamed with some cheap perfume from a woman alone in her unmade drawing room, and she hints that her man had just left the coast clear for some smooching if he could figure that out. Well Neff sees the possibilities and is interested until Phyllis wonders how she could take out a policy on her husband’s life without him knowing it. Neff knows his cheap flirting has dirt under the carpet where he might get down for a roll. Oh boy, she has murder in mind and he wants no part of it.

Having tasted stolen bread in secret, Neff must deal with the proverbial aftertaste of it. Phyllis is the pursuer and she catches him in his own home and persuades him to that the two of them, together, should kill her husband. Neff who had played straight for long knows and up front knows instantly all the tricks of his trade: and comes up with a plan in which Phyllis’s husband will die an unlikely death, in this case being thrown from a train. Pacific All-Risk will therefore be required, by the “double indemnity” clause in the insurance policy, to pay the widow twice the normal amount.

Keyes, a tenacious investigator, does not suspect foul play at first, but eventually concludes that the Dietrichson woman and an unknown accomplice must be behind the husband’s death. He has no reason, however, to be suspicious of Neff, someone he has worked with for quite some time and admires.

Neff is not only worried about Keyes. The victim’s daughter, Lola (Jean Heather), comes to him convinced that her stepmother, Phyllis, is behind her father’s death because Lola’s mother also died under suspicious circumstances when Phyllis was her nurse.

Once he realizes that Phyllis is playing him for a sap and also seeing another man – Lola’s boyfriend – behind his back, Neff believes the only way out is to murder Phyllis himself. But she has had the same thought; when they meet, she shoots him first. Neff, badly hurt, is still able to shoot and kill her.

Neff then drives to his office. There he dictates his full confession to Keyes, who arrives in person just in time to hear the last of the gory details and see his dying friend Neff collapse to the floor.

By the way Wilder shot an alternate ending to the film (to appease censors), featuring Neff paying for his crime by going to the gas chamber. This footage is lost, but stills of the scene still exist.
Scripting the film:

Apart from the racy content- a tale of adultery and premeditated murder for hire, and the language the way two geniuses could work together is itself an interesting sidelight
Wilder, working for Paramount Pictures, acquired the rights to Cain’s novella but creating a screenplay from it was a challenge. For the Austrian-born Wilder who was yet to get total command of English. His American writing partner Charles Brackett refused to work on the film. Paramount and Wilder tried to get James M. Cain to co-write the screenplay but he was under contract for another studio. After reading The Big Sleep, Wilder decided that Raymond Chandler would be a good choice. ‘Cain’s crime story was intact but now it featured witty dialog that was a combination of 1930’s machine-gun chatter (especially Robinson’s speeches) and the laid-back hip dialog that would be Chandler’s trademark. The result is a screenplay that actually ends up being more sexual than the novella’(filmnoiroftheweek.blogspot.com)
Raymond Chandler hated the experience of writing the script with Billy Wilder so much that he actually walked out and would not return unless a list of demands was met. The studio acceded to his demands and he returned to finish the script with Wilder who claimed that he flaunted his womanizing ability at the time to torment the sexually-repressed Chandler.(wikipedia)

Other cast

* Porter Hall as Mr. Jackson
* Jean Heather as Lola Dietrichson
* Tom Powers as Mr. Dietrichson
* Byron Barr as Nino Zachetti
* Richard Gaines as Edward S. Norton, Jr.
* Fortunio Bonanova as Sam Garlopis
* John Philliber as Joe Peters

Other films inspired by the Snyder-Gray murder include The Postman Always Rings Twice (also based on a Cain novel) and Body Heat. Both Postman and Double Indemnity were remade, with Double Indemnity being a “made-for-TV” movie in 1973 starring Richard Crenna, Lee J. Cobb, and Samantha Eggar.
Academy Award Nominations

* Best Actress in a Leading Role (Barbara Stanwyck)
* Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
* Best Director (Billy Wilder)
* Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
* Best Picture
* Academy Award for Best Sound, recording
* Best Writing, Screenplay

Critical response
In his review, film critic Roger Ebert praised director Wilder and cinematographer Seitz. He wrote, “The photography by John F. Seitz helped develop the noir style of sharp-edged shadows and shots, strange angles and lonely Edward Hopper settings.”

Trivia:
* The character Walter Neff was originally named Walter Ness, but director/writer Billy Wilder found out that there was a man living in Beverly Hills named Walter Ness who was actually an insurance salesman. To avoid being sued for defamation of character, they changed the name.

* The scene where Neff and Dietrichson can’t get their car started after the murder, was added by Wilder after his car wouldn’t start at the end of a shooting day.

* Dick Powell wanted the role of Walter Neff, but he was under contract to another studio and they wouldn’t allow it. He was enraged and tore up his contract. The role went to Fred MacMurray.

* The blonde wig that Barbara Stanwyck is wearing throughout the movie was the idea of Billy Wilder. A month into shooting Wilder suddenly realized how bad it looked, but by then it was too late to re-shoot the earlier scenes. To rationalize this mistake, in later interviews Wilder claimed that the bad-looking wig was intentional.

• In the first scene in which Walter first kisses Phyllis, we see a wedding ring on Walter’s hand. Fred MacMurray was married and the ring was not noticed until post-production.

* The victim, Mr. Dietrichson, is an oil company executive. Screenplay writer Raymond Chandler was an oil company executive before he became a writer.

* Silver dust was mixed with some subtle smoke effects to create the illusion of waning sunlight in Phyllis Dietrichson’s house.

* We never learn the first name of Mr. Dietrichson.

* Various studios expressed interest in the story when it first appeared in serial form in 1935 but realized it was unfilmable within the strictures of the newly-established Production Code.

• On viewing the film’s rushes, production head Buddy G. DeSylva remarked of Barbara Stanwyck’s blonde wig, “We hired Barbara Stanwyck, and here we get George Washington”!
* In the scene where Phyllis is listening at Neff’s door as he talks with Keyes, Keyes exits into the hallway and Phyllis hides behind the door. The door opens into the hallway, which isn’t allowed by building codes even back then, but it does give Phyllis something to hide behind and increases the tension.

Memorable Quotes:
Walter Neff: You’ll be here too?
Phyllis: I guess so, I usually am.
Walter Neff: Same chair, same perfume, same anklet?
Phyllis: I wonder if I know what you mean.
Walter Neff: I wonder if you wonder.
[last lines]
Walter Neff: Know why you couldn’t figure this one, Keyes? I’ll tell ya. ‘Cause the guy you were looking for was too close. Right across the desk from ya.
Barton Keyes: Closer than that, Walter.
Walter Neff: I love you, too.
Walter Neff: It’s just like the first time I came here, isn’t it? We were talking about automobile insurance, only you were thinking about murder. And I was thinking about that anklet.
Barton Keyes: Have you made up your mind?
Jackson: Mr. Keyes, I’m a Medford man – Medford, Oregon. Up in Medford, we take our time making up our minds.
Barton Keyes: Well, we’re not in Medford, we’re in a hurry.
Barton Keyes: They’ve committed a murder and it’s not like taking a trolley ride together where they can get off at different stops. They’re stuck with each other and they’ve got to ride all the way to the end of the line and it’s a one-way trip and the last stop is the cemetery.
Walter Neff: Do I laugh now, or wait ’til it gets funny?
Walter Neff: How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?
Walter Neff: Suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy, Keyes, but it’s true, so help me. I couldn’t hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man.
Walter Neff: Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money – and a woman – and I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman. Pretty, isn’t it?
Phyllis: I was just fixing some ice tea; would you like a glass?
Walter Neff: Yeah, unless you got a bottle of beer that’s not working.
Barton Keyes: I picked you for the job, not because I think you’re so darn smart, but because I thought you were a shade less dumb than the rest of the outfit. Guess I was wrong. You’re not smarter, Walter… you’re just a little taller.
[Norton, Keyes's boss, has just tried, unsuccessfully, to convince a client that her husband's death was a suicide]
Barton Keyes: You know, you, uh, oughta take a look at the statistics on suicide some time. You might learn a little something about the insurance business.
Edward S. Norton: Mister Keyes, I was RAISED in the insurance business.
Barton Keyes: Yeah, in the front office. 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.
Jackson: These are fine cigars you smoke.
Barton Keyes: Two for a quarter.
Jackson: That’s what I said.
Walter Neff: Who’d you think I was anyway? The guy that walks into a good looking dame’s front parlour and says, “Good afternoon, I sell accident insurance on husbands… you got one that’s been around too long? One you’d like to turn into a little hard cash?”
Walter Neff: They say all native Californians come from Iowa.
Phyllis: I’m a native Californian. Born right here in Los Angeles.
Walter Neff: They say all native Californians come from Iowa.
Phyllis: We’re both rotten.
Walter Neff: Only you’re a little more rotten.
Phyllis: Mr. Neff, why don’t you drop by tomorrow evening about eight-thirty. He’ll be in then.
Walter Neff: Who?
Phyllis: My husband. You were anxious to talk to him weren’t you?
Walter Neff: Yeah, I was, but I’m sort of getting over the idea, if you know what I mean.
Phyllis: There’s a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour.
Walter Neff: How fast was I going, officer?
Phyllis: I’d say around ninety.
Walter Neff: Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.
Phyllis: Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.
Walter Neff: Suppose it doesn’t take.
Phyllis: Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.
Walter Neff: Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.
Phyllis: Suppose you try putting it on my husband’s shoulder.
Walter Neff: That tears it.
[first lines]
Building attendant: Well, hello there, Mr. Neff.
Barton Keyes: Now that’s enough out of you, Walter. Now get outta here before I throw my desk at you.
[looks in his pocket for a match]
Walter Neff: [takes a match of his own and lights Keyes' cigar] I love you, too.
[voiceover]
Walter Neff: I really did, too, you old crab. Always yelling your head off, always sore at everybody. You never fooled me with your song and dance, not for a second. I kinda always knew that behind all the cigar ashes on your vest was a heart as big as a house.
Phyllis: I think you’re rotten.
Walter Neff: I think you’re swell – so long as I’m not your husband.
Phyllis: Get out of here.
Walter Neff: You bet I’ll get out of here, baby. I’ll get out of here but quick.
Edward S. Norton: That witness from the train, what was his name?
Barton Keyes: His name was Jackson. Probably still is.
Barton Keyes: Walter, you’re all washed up.
Barton Keyes: What’s the matter? Dames chasing you again? Or still? Or is it none of my business?
Walter Neff: If I told you it was a customer, you’d…
Barton Keyes: “Margie”! I bet she drinks from the bottle.
Phyllis: Do you make your own breakfast, Mr Neff?
Walter Neff: Well, I squeeze a grapefruit now and again.
Barton Keyes: Well, I get darn sick of tryin’ to pick up after a gang of fast-talking salesmen dumb enough to sell life insurance to a guy who sleeps in the same bed with four rattlesnakes.
Barton Keyes: The job I’m talking about takes brains and integrity. It takes more guts than there is in 50 salesmen. It’s the hottest job in the business… Desk job? Is that all you can see in it? Just a hard chair to park your pants on from 9 to 5, huh? Just a pile of papers to shuffle around and five sharp pencils and a scratch pad to make figures on. Maybe a little doodling on the side. Well, that’s not the way I look at it, Walter. To me, a claims man is a surgeon. That desk is an operating table. And those pencils are scalpels and bone chisels. And those papers are not just forms and statistics and claims for compensation, they’re alive, they’re packed with drama, with twisted hopes and crooked dreams. A claims man, Walter, is a doctor and a bloodhound… and a cop and a judge and a jury and a father confessor all in one. And you want to tell me you’re not interested. You don’t want to work with your brains. All you wanna work is with your finger on the doorbell, for a few bucks more a week.
Walter Neff: I get the general idea. She was a tramp from a long line of tramps.

Directed by Billy Wilder
Produced by Buddy G. DeSylva
:
Screenplay:
Billy Wilder
Raymond Chandler
Narrated by Fred MacMurray
Starring Fred MacMurray
Barbara Stanwyck
Edward G. Robinson
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Victor Schertzinger
Cinematography John F. Seitz
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Running time 107 minutes
Budget $927,262
Similar Movies
Body Heat (1981, Lawrence Kasdan)
Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud (1957, Louis Malle)
Kill Me Again (1989, John Dahl)
Niagara (1952, Henry Hathaway)
Seduced (1985, Jerrold Freedman)
Too Late for Tears (1949, Byron Haskin)
The File on Thelma Jordon (1949, Robert Siodmak)
The Pushover (1954, Richard Quine)
The Woman in the Window (1944, Fritz Lang)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001, Joel Coen)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Five Graves to Cairo (1943, Billy Wilder)
The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)
Stalag 17 (1953, Billy Wilder)
Ace in the Hole (1951, Billy Wilder)
The File on Thelma Jordon (1949, Robert Siodmak)
A Foreign Affair (1948, Billy Wilder)
Some Like It Hot (1959, Billy Wilder)
Going My Way (1944, Leo McCarey)
Other Related Movies
is featured in: Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993, Woody Allen)
Femme Fatale (2002, Brian De Palma)
is related to: The Moonlighter (1953, Roy Rowland)
There’s Always Tomorrow (1956, Douglas Sirk)
Slightly Scarlet (1956, Allan Dwan)
Bad Education (2004, Pedro Almodóvar)
In perspective:
Double Indemnity was released September 1944 and it became a classic for well merited reasons. It is a dark, back-and-white tale of lust, greed and murder told in a flashback as with Wilders Sunset Boulevard. It stands apart from other films- noir of the time including The Maltese Falcon – and was a box office hit. Double Indemnity competed against romantic thrillers and Hollywood melodramas at the 1944 Oscars – the film lost the Best Picture award to the Bing Crosby-starrer Going My Way. .( ‘In 1992, Double Indemnity was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The film was listed at number 38 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 American films of all time and at number 29 on the 10th Anniversary Edition of the list’-wikipedia)
(Ack:imdb,wikipedia, allmovie)
compiler:benny

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A Hollywood story

Billy Wilder, a great Hollywood director, decided to make a film about the thing he knew best – Hollywood. In Sunset Boulevard he made a film that echoes Hollywood obsession with its own past. Extreme vanity, madness, obsession and murder are all given space here in this tale of a faded silent film star in her twilight years and the younger man whose cynicism is swept aside by her overpowering fantasies.

Cops, with sirens blaring, rush to a mansion on Sunset Boulevard. In the swimming pool floats the corpse of a man, face down. A cynical male voice-over:

You’ll get it over your radio and see it on television because an old-time star is involved – one of the biggest. But before you hear it all distorted and blown out of proportion, before those Hollywood columnists get their hands on it, maybe you’d like to hear the facts, the whole truth. If so, you’ve come to the right party. You see, the body of a young man was found floating in the pool of her mansion – with two shots in his back and one in his stomach. Nobody important, really. Just a movie writer with a couple of ‘B’ pictures to his credit. The poor dope! He always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool…

He is Joe Gillis (William Holden), a hard-up screenwriter with debts to pay (“Waiting, waiting for the gravy train.”). We’re in flash back. Joe has peddling the script that could save him from his creditors, without success. He spots the guys who are out to repossess his car and he evades them at speed. When he gets a flat, he pulls into the driveway of a run-down mansion in Beverly Hills. In a commanding voice, a woman calls him into the dilapidated old house. The butler ushers him upstairs into the presence of a lady of a certain age (Gloria Swanson), wearing a leopard skin headscarf.

Joe: You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
Norma: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.

Norma lectures Joe on the sorry state of the movie biz and then Joe inveigles himself into a job. He is to script her comeback vehicle, an update version of Salome. Joe needs the money and accepts, even though he realizes nothing will come of the movie. The only catch is that he must stay with her while he writes. So he becomes a prisoner of this sad old has-been and her stern butler/chauffeur, Max (Erich von Stroheim), a once great director reduced to domestic service.

She is still in a warp and on the giddy heights of a lost career – plain crazy when it came to that one subject: her celluloid self.
Wilder built on the self-reference that permeates the film by incorporating clips of Swanson’s performance in the unfinished Queen Kelly, directed by von Stroheim, as the work of Norma Desmond. Unlike Desmond, Swanson did not become a twisted neurotic, although she gives a convincing portrayal of mental instability. Her performance as Desmond stunned critics and public alike.

Billy Wilder fell out with Charles Brackett, his producer and collaborator on the Oscar-winning screenplay. They never worked together again. Brackett had wanted a light comedy but Wilder took the film to a darker place. He got Sunset Boulevard to work as black comedy, film noir, melodrama and satire. He made many great movies, perhaps, most famously, Some Like it Hot, but Sunset Boulevard is the pinnacle of his output.

Director:Billy Wilder

Joe Gillis: William Holden
Norma Desmond: Gloria Swanson
Max Von Mayerling: Erich von Stroheim
Betty Schaefer: Nancy Olson
Artie Green: Jack Webb
Himself: Cecil B. DeMille
Herself: Hedda Hopper
Himself: Buster Keaton
Himself: H.B. Warner
Herself: Anna Q. Nilsson

110 minutes
Academy Awards

Won (3)

* Best Art Direction
* Best Score (Drama or Comedy)
* Best Story and Screenplay – Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, D.M. Marshman Jr.

National Film Registry, Library of Congress Selected as one of 25 landmark films, leading examples of American cinematic art.

Although Norma Desmond never gets her come-back, Sunset Boulevard was a spectacular return for Gloria Swanson, who gives an outstanding performance.

You see, this is my life. It always will be! There’s nothing else – just us – and the cameras – and those wonderful people out there in the dark.
All right, Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.

In the 1920s, Swanson really had been an immensely popular star of the silent screen and reportedly the mistress of Joseph Kennedy. Similarly, Erich von Stroheim, who really had been a great director, is cast as a once great director. As ever his acting is riveting.

Giants of the movie industry appear in cameo roles: Buster Keaton and H.B. Warner are in Norma’s bridge group. Director Cecil B. deMille, columnist Hedda Hopper and others all appear as themselves.

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