Billy Wilder's Film Double Indemnity

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The idea that love can change a person is truly evident in the classic film noir, Double Indemnity. Walter Neff, an insurance salesman develops feelings for his clients’ wife, Phyllis Dietrichson. Together they team up to commit a murder; the murder of her husband. This progression is shown through three different cinematography components: lighting, camera angles, and composition. Over the course of 107 thrilling minutes, Walter Neff becomes a whole new person due to his relationship with Phyllis. In his film Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder uses cinematography to demonstrate the progression of Walter Neff’s character from a seemingly innocent insurance agent to a criminal.
In the beginning of the film, Walter Neff is viewed as a happy and confident insurance agent, and immediately becomes the protagonist in the movie. A few of the major components to this illusion are lighting, camera angles, and
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Walter Neff is initially viewed as an innocent insurance salesman, and turns into a manipulated murderer who threw away his future for one girl. Low key, high key, and high contrast lighting were all visible in this film, and changed appropriately based upon the emotions Walter was feeling within the scene. The scenes reflected how Wilder wanted the audience to view the relationship between Walter and Phyllis, allowing the audience to see only what Wilder wanted them to see. The composition was also used effectively within the film, helping create an unspoken feeling Wilder wanted his viewers to feel for this toxic relationship, while also never making whatever was within the frame feel out of place. Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity proves how love can truly change a person’s morals and general persona, for the bad and for the

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