Konrad Wysocki

Professor Herzog

Analysis 1



Double Indemnity

1.Shot 1: This scene is a long shot with a long take. So there is no movement of the camera, it is just stationary. There is some old music playing in the background that is diegetic sound since Walter said “what’s that music?” The scene is very dark. The only light that is coming in is from behind the blinds just to give enough light to see a little. The camera angle in this scene is particularly a straight on camera shot. Well it is only in black and white because that’s how the movie was made. Walter comes into the living room taking off his hat, while Phyllis is sitting in a comfortable seat smoking a cigarette. The light is coming from behind Phyllis’s seat, not hitting her, but hitting Walter a little bit. Before this many things have happened. Walter and Phyllis have plotted a scheme to get rich quick by pulling life insurance fraud on Phyllis’s husband. So when they murdered the husband, Walter’s coworker at his insurance job starts getting suspicious it was no accident. Then Walter finds out Phyllis is using him since he knows about insurance, and she is with another man. So then in this scene Walter comes into Phyllis’s house that is unlit, and goes into the living room and takes a seat across from her to tell her he is done with her and the scam. In this scene, the furniture is placed closely together, with no light except for the light coming behind the curtains. Walter and Phyllis are pretty close to each other which gave it kind of an uncomfortable feeling since Walter is abandoning her and the scam. Also, this scene is pretty much sharp focus since nothing is really blurry but clear.  Then it straight cuts into the next shot.


2.Shot 2: There are many cuts in this scene since the camera just keeps on cutting back and forth between Walter and Phyllis eight times. This is called a shot/reverse shot. These shots were medium close-ups that were short takes. There was no movement of the camera or in the shot since they were just sitting and talking to each other. Walter is sitting on the arm of the couch, while Phyllis is still sitting in her comfortable seat smoking a cigarette. They are sitting very close to each other talking about how he is “getting off the trolley” and leaving her on. So it is getting a little tense and there is anger in the air. In this shot, there is strong focus because everything is visible and clear to see. The music that is diegetic sound is still playing in the background. The scenes are still pretty dark; the only light that is coming is from behind the blinds. The light is still hitting Walter just enough, but not Phyllis since the light is still coming from behind Phyllis’s chair toward Walter. The camera angles on Phyllis during these shots were angled low, while the camera shots on Walter were straight. These scenes were all straight cuts into each other.


Shot 3: The camera moves facing Phyllis sitting in a chair smoking a cigarette with the light behind her coming from the blinds. This would be a medium long shot that is a long take. Walter gets off the arm of the couch and goes behind Phyllis and closes the blind door and then walks to her standing over her from behind. As he is behind her, Walter is telling her that his coworker suspects her with some other guy but not Walter. So he is leaving her and doesn’t care what happens to her. Also, the camera angle is low but looking up to make it look as if Walter is domineering over Phyllis. The atmosphere in this shot is still uncomfortable in this shot because they are tense since Walter is leaving her and the scam. But at least the camera shot is in sharp focus. The light coming from the blinds gives it a “behind bars” feeling since they murdered somebody.  The music is still playing and it is still diegetic sound. The scene is still gloomy with the little light coming from behind the blinds. Then Walter walks off that shot. Then it straight cuts into the next scene.


Shot 4: This shot turns into a medium shot that is also with a long take. The camera is facing Walter, whose back is turned to Phyllis. But Phyllis is still visible in the shot sitting down and smoking. The room is still dark with some light coming from behind the blinds. The camera is at a high angle looking down at the characters. There is still music in the background that is diegetic sound.  Then as Walter starts moving in front of Phyllis, the camera slowly moves with him facing his back but still a pretty good view at Phyllis. Again in this shot, the camera angle is above Water’s head and looking down at Phyllis to give it the effect of dominance. Walter is telling her how Phyllis and some other guy are going to get busted for this. Meanwhile, Phyllis does not like this plan. So during this shot, there is disagreement and anger in the air because the plan did not work out as they said it would. Instead both backstabbed each other, metaphorically.

The Stylistic Decisions

2. The stylistic decisions made in this scene relate to the larger picture in many ways. Starting with the darkness, this is probably in every scene in this movie. The darkness symbolizes the cruel and evil ways Walter has been doing. This goes from the insurance fraud on Phyllis’s husband to the murder of Phyllis’s husband. Also, the darkness shows that women are disillusioned and they cannot be trusted just as Phyllis. So during this particular scene, there is darkness everywhere to show something bad is going on. But there in the darkness, is a little light shining from behind the blinds that is casting a shadow over them giving a “behind bars” feeling. This is foreshadowing that they are not going to get away with the crime they committed. Also, it shows that they are trapped in this situation together since the shadow is on both of them. This darkness was used throughout the entire film to show the evil ways of these characters from the beginning. In probably every shot, there was something dark and shadowy because these things go hand in hand with bad things.  Such as when Walter sneaks out his house to wait in Phyllis’s car and murders her husband. Everything about this scene had darkness to it. From the no light to the shadows, it gave it a grimy feeling.

What did the film makers want to say?

3. By using this darkness throughout the whole film, it gave a grimy and corrupt feeling about these two characters. This is because when people think about the night, they probably imagine stuff like crime, drugs and corruption. So this darkness feeling is exactly what is needed to create these emotions for the audience. Also, this fits the movie perfectly since it is about two criminals who try to get away with insurance fraud and what better way to create this bad feeling than by using dark and gloomy scenes to create this effect. Another affect that was created by the darkness was the shadows of the blinds. This is because it created a “behind bars” look.  This probably was foreshadowing they are not getting away with this crime. Also, since the “bars” were on both of them, it made it seem they stuck in this together if they like it or not. By using another technique such as mischievous background music, it would not even be close to the effect the darkness gave to this film. By watching these movies, people learn that there are many different techniques used to get a certain reaction or something. But it is figuring out which one fits best to create that effect  that is needed.

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