What’s that perfume in your hair?

….”What’s that perfume in your hair?……..I don’t know….I bought it in Ensenada”…. Cheesy and cool. What a script. What a cast. What a director. Classic film noir.

Billy Wilder was an incredible director. I mostly love his work in the mid to late 50’s but his earlier film noir work was also brilliant. Double Indemnity was nominated for 7 Oscars and probably didn’t win due to the war, whereas the voters chose sentiment over murder between two lovers. Regardless, this film is a wonderful tribute to Venetian blinds and early Los Angeles (where many “noir-ish” films were born) aka mentions of several beloved L.A. landmarks.

I remember La Brea being mentioned, as well as Los Feliz. And of course, the scene on top of the hill overlooking the Hollywood Bowl complete with a live performance was included. Billy uses L.A. as a character much like Woody Allen used New York.

I love the view from a Glendale street in the opening scenes where a Spanish-style home is described as being a popular style about 10 years previous and the sum of 30 thousand made to sound like a million by today’s standards. This was 1944. The gorgeous house is still there:,-118.3256543,3a,90y,299.79h,87.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sL3fiNsZ1f-o_sMkMQ70SxA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

Fred MacMurray, very cool and handsome, smoked cigarettes in the macho way men did in the day.
If you notice, there were at least two scenes where McMurray and Edward G. both struck matches with their fingernails. My dad would have been proud. I recently watched Kate Winslet smoke nervously in Revolutionary Road and was once again struck by actors struggling to look natural while they light and hold a cigarette. Then watch actors in the 40’s and 50’s—the effortless way they held their smokes. No comparison. Doesn’t anyone study these films?

Barbara Stanwick was the perfect tough girl. Her sultry voice and great screen presence made a perfect vamp. The names are comic book-like. Even Walter Neff sounds geeky by today’s standards. I love the narration—a typical Billy Wilder trademark.

The movie begins as a narration while a man is dying and entering his murder confession into a newfangled gadget that records speech. What will they invent next?

I’ve always loved the last words of Barton to Walter and the last scene in the film.

Walter Neff: “Know why you couldn’t figure this one out, 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.”

(pause while Keyes lights Walter’s cig) Walter Neff: “… I love you, too.”


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