Film Noir is often innovated in narrative techniques. Double Indemnity is marked by two temporal movements: of real time and remembered time. The film opens with Walter Neff (MacMurray) arriving at his office in the middle of the night and delivering into a dictating machine his confession for killing a man— for money (pause) and for a woman. These words trigger a flashback that is occasionally narrated by his voice– over confession. Gradually the narrative brings real time and memory together, while the unusual juxtaposition of temporalities gives the spectator a premonition of what will occur/has occurred in the flashback story. Finally, they meet as Neff is about to die from the gunshot would he suffered at the end of his flashback.
Scarlet Street another tale of allurement and murder–and a remake of Jean Renoir’s 1931 French film La Chienne the novelty (under Production Code rules) is that the Murderer gets away with it, while another man dies in the electric chair for the crime. Because of this apparent breach of the Code, the city of Atlanta, Georgia, tried to stop the film from screening there. In an affidavit supporting the film, Joseph L. Breen of the Production Code Administration wrote, “It was our contention and belief that in this particular motion picture, the murderer was adequately punished by a higher power, working through his own conscience, which drove him to become a social outcast and a hopeless derelict.” Read more