Double Indemnity Film Analysis

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Silken Chu FIST 100 Film Noir In the 1940s, the film genre, film noir, was defined and then redefined by two influential films of the era. Double Indemnity, directed by Billy Wilder in 1944, was paradigmatic for the genre, setting up standards for following film noirs, while Mildred Pierce, directed by Michael Curtiz in 1945, subverted the expectations set by such earlier films. Despite this, the two of them are labelled with the same genre, so one must wonder wherein lies the definition of noir as a mode. Moral ambiguity is a theme that we can see recurs throughout several films, including the Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce. This unity across film noirs is something that could be used to define the genre, but it’s not specific enough. There’s comparisons to be drawn between the themes of two films, but the similarities lie more in the overall tones than any real specifics. All the tropes that were established as being identifiers of the genre were subverted with Mildred Pierce. The dust had barely any time to settle before Michael Curtiz decided to change things up. Noir films are consistent in one thing: style. In fact, if you were to ask the average person to explain film…show more content…
To properly communicate the purpose of a word, the reader must participate. By allowing some breathing room around a genre, we can let people fill in the gaps according to their experience with film noir. As Janey Place and Lowell Peterson state in their book, “Genre is what we collectively believe it to be,” (107) As such, our beliefs are shaped by the films that have previously been labeled film noir. There’s a reason they indicate that they’re referencing “attempt[s] to define film noir…” (65). Genre is a tough thing to define, especially when films like Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce are painted with the same brush. As such we must come up with an equally broad statement with which to define film

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