Steamy Body Heat and Double-Crossing Indemnity! Film Noir Sizzles!

“How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?”

You wanna know what film noir is? Here is what wikipedia says:

“Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.”

Cynical Attitudes and Sexual Motivations, indeed!

I LOVE that definition, as it encompasses what I love most about the movies! Need an example? Well, try out this movie dialogue from “Double Indemnity”:

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.

Or try out this steamy dialogue from “Body Heat”:

Ned: Maybe you shouldn’t dress like that.
Matty: This is a blouse and a skirt. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Ned: You shouldn’t wear that body.

This, my friends, is GREAT DIALOGUE. And it is from two separate movies that are classic film noir!

Body Heat

This is the modern classic film noir – starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner, and directed by Lawrence Kasden, who also made “The Big Chill”, “Grand Canyon” and “French Kiss”, among many others. But this is, without a doubt, his finest cinematic achievement, and a career best for Hurt and Turner as well…

Here is the original theatrical trailer, dripping with noir…

William Hurt is Ned Racine, a seedy small town lawyer in Florida. During a searing heatwave he comes across Kathleen Turner, who plays Matty Walker – married to a shady businessman.

Here is the dialogue the first night Ned meets Matty, while her husband is away, and it is CLASSIC noir:

Ned: You can stand here with me if you want but you’ll have to agree not to talk about the heat.
Matty: I’m a married woman.
Ned: Meaning what?
Matty: Meaning I’m not looking for company.
Ned: Then you should have said I’m a happily married woman.

Ned: Can I buy you a drink?
Matty: I told you. I’ve got a husband.
Ned: I’ll buy him one too.
Matty: He’s out of town.
Ned: My favorite kind. We’ll drink to him.
Matty: Only comes up on weekends.
Ned: I’m liking him better all the time.
Ned: You better take me up on this quick. In about 45 minutes, I’m going to give up and go away.

Now THAT is great writing!

Obviously, a passionate affair commences but it isn’t long before they realize the only thing standing in their way is Matty’s rich husband Edmund.

A plot hatches to kill him but will they pull it off? All throughout, the dialogue is terrific!

Matty: [to Ned] You aren’t too smart, are you? I like that in a man.
Ned: What else do you like? Lazy? Ugly? Horny? I got ’em all.
Matty: You don’t look lazy.

Needless to say, things get very complicated, as Ned admits to his buddy, played by a young and very charismatic Ted Danson…

Ned: Sometimes the shit comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat.

Mickey Rourke also has a small role as a client who helps Racine out – then realizes something isn’t right…

And speaking of film noir and sexual motivations, this movie is full of sex, sex, sex! Actors William Hurt and Kathleen Turner wanted the crew to feel comfortable filming their love scenes. So they lined up the crew and both actors introduced themselves to each crew member. When they did this, both stars were naked.

This is one of my all-time favorite movies, almost perfect in setup and execution – don’t know anything more than I’ve told you and you’ll have a great thrill ride ahead!

There are some who think that “Body Heat” is an homage to our next film, which is one of the all-time greatest films ever made, by one of Hollywood’s GREATEST Directors!

Double Indemnity

There are many great film noirs, but this one is the gold standard – Directed by the legendary Billy Wilder, who Directed such masterpieces as “Sunset Boulevard” and “Some Like It Hot” – and written by the legendary Author Raymond Chandler, who wrote “The Big Sleep” and “Farewell, My Lovely” among so many other classic books of deception, lust and murder.

Check out the trailer – black and white and noir…

Fred MacMurray is Walter Neff, an experienced salesman of the Pacific All Risk Insurance Co., who meets the seductive wife of one of his clients.

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.

Barbara Stanwyck is Phyllis Dietrichson, who seduces the naive salesman for her own reasons…

After beginning a torrid affair, Phyllis proposes to kill her husband to receive the proceeds of an accident insurance policy and Walter devises a scheme to receive twice the amount based on a double indemnity clause.

Double Indemnity!

When Mr. Dietrichson is found dead on a train-track, the police accept the determination of accidental death. However, the insurance analyst and Walter’s best friend Barton Keyes – played by legendary Actor Edward G. Robinson, does not buy the story and suspects that Phyllis has murdered her husband with the help of another man…

And again, look at this dialogue:

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.

Barbara Stanwyck was the first choice to play Phyllis, but she was unnerved when seeing the role was of a ruthless killer. When she expressed her concern to Billy Wilder, he asked her, “Are you a mouse or an actress?”

And of course, Fred MacMurray is perfect as the poor sap who doesn’t realize he’s a poor sap until it’s too late…

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.”

Check out this script – line after line of GREAT dialogue!

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?”

TWO film noir classics to share with the one you love – and hope loves you!

Categories: Academy Awards, Action Films, Awards, Film Noir, Movies, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 replies


  1. The Limey! Night Moves! Classic “Action Noir”! « johnrieber
  2. “B” Movies Indeed! My List Of Ten Great Films Beginning With “B”! – johnrieber
  3. Cult Movie Monday! “Crimes Of Passion!” Kathleen Turner And Anthony Perkins Battle For The Soul! – johnrieber
  4. Kathleen Turner’s Sexy Uncut “Crimes Of Passion!” 80’s Cult Weirdness! – JR-Sploitation!
  5. Classic “B” Movies! Body Heat! Battle Royale! Bogart Too! Cinema’s Greatest Films That Begin With A “B”! – johnrieber

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