Screw Double Indemnity; Watch Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon

The other day an old fogy high on Masala Dose from Gayatri Tiffin Room just off the Chamundipuram Bus Stand, Set Dose from Gully Hotel on a side street near the Chik Market and Ice Cream from Phalamrut near the city bus stand asked us to watch Double Indemnity.

And, being obedient followers of the SI commenters, we did.

Directed by Billy Wilder, this 1944 film noir flick features Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson. Insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) and Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) hope to kill two birds with one stone by murdering Phyllis’ husband.

Do things work out as planned? As the old saying goes, the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.

Although Edward Robinson has a smaller role, he steals the show as Walter’s suspicious boss Barton Keyes. As Keyes (yeah, the one who constantly hears the little man’s warnings) says in a memorable line from the movie:

A claimsman is a doctor and a bloodhound and a cop and a judge and jury and a father confessor all-in-one.

Double Indemnity was alright but did not bowl us over.

What delighted us, instead, was Billy Wilder’s later movie Love in the Afternoon (1957) featuring Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper.

An absolutely riveting romantic comedy, Audrey Hepburn is adorable as the young Ariane in love with the much older American playboy Frank Flannagan (played by the much older in real life Gary Cooper).

With her wide eyes, lissom figure and tall tales, Audrey Hepburn is simply marvellous in Love in the Afternoon.

Sure, we’ve seen Audrey Hepburn in other movies too, notably Sabrina and Roman Holiday.

But in our not-so-humble view she sparkles far, far more in Love in the Afternoon.

In the movie, Audrey Hepburn combines a naivete with a been-there, seen-it-all insouciance (particularly when she’s spinning yarns to Gary Cooper) that we found simply, oh, so charming.

We fell in love with Audrey Hepburn at the moment when she tells Gary Cooper:

I came early because I wanted to tell you that I’m not coming later.

As other hacks before us have said so many times, Love in the Afternoon is Audrey Hepburn’s movie. The others including Gary Cooper are relegated to supporting roles.

Audrey Hepburn’s winning performance in the movie got her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress (alas, she didn’t win, most likely because the jury was filled with drunken dummkopfs).

Truth be said, Gary Cooper didn’t impress us as much as Maurice Chevalier, who plays a private eye and the Thin Girl’s father in the movie.

And the dialogs, boy, they are so witty.

If you believe the folks at IMDB, Love in the Afternoon was a box office disaster.

Folks, who gives a flying fu** about the box office reception 52 years back.

Watch this endearing romantic comedy and we bet you’ll be as smitten with Audrey Hepburn, though surely not as much as we were. 😉

If you live in the U.S., you can get both movies from Netflix.  Double Indemnity on DVD and Love in the Afternoon on both DVD and Instant Play.

When we are a little high, we think we see shades of Audrey in Bollywood ‘over-the-hill’ actress Preity Zinta (no, we assure you we are not drunk now).

5 Responses to "Screw Double Indemnity; Watch Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon"

  1. Albert Camus   July 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Have you read/watched any Harry Potter book/movie? Responds:

    No, our childrens’ books education ended with Nancy Drew, Enid Blyton and Hardy Boys.

    Haven’t seen any Hari Puttar movies.

    Here are some records we’re determined never to break – never to dine at Applebees/Wendy’s/Red Lobster/Olive Garden and never see a Harry Potter movie or read the Potter books.

  2. shadowfax_arbit   July 17, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Your fav actor seems to have some issues. Responds:

    Read the piece in your above link.

    There must be a God, after all. 😉

    Vikram overshadowed Abhishek Bachchan?

    What’s the big deal. Even the machchar (mosquitoes) and gofers on the sets routinely overshadow this spawn of the Shaitan (devil).

  3. scout   July 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    what rubbish! audrey hepburn and preity zinta?
    preity zinta is a square headed pumpkin compared to audrey.

    I’ve watched ‘Love in the Afternoon’ 786 billion times already. You’re only watching it now despite being a geriatric?
    Loser! Responds:

    1. You write: I’ve watched ‘Love in the Afternoon’ 786 billion times already.

    No matter. We still have first claim over Audrey Hepburn.

    2. You write: You’re only watching it now despite being a geriatric?

    Who you calling a geriatric, hag! One look at us as God made us and you’ll go weak in the knees (and elsewhere too). 😉

    3. You write: preity zinta is a square headed pumpkin compared to audrey.

    True, true. Nobody like Audrey. Or for that matter Ingrid (of Bergman fame).

    But with dear, dear Audrey and sweet, sweet Ingrid six-feet under, we have to make do with the local munchkins.

    What a movie. Just can’t fathom why it got that unwelcome reception. Most be because of Gary Cooper’s haggard looks.

  4. scout   July 18, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    quit it with your disgusting puns or i’m boycotting this blog.

    here are some other great Audrey movies:

    Wait until dark
    Funny face
    The Children’s Hour
    Roman Holiday

    and Gary Cooper was so not looking haggard. He was the perfect middle aged playboy. In fact, i would have preferred him over Bogart in Sabrina.

    Have you watched Whatever happened to Baby Jane? just watched it after ages last night. its still scary. Responds:

    1. You write: or i’m boycotting this blog

    Who you kidding? We are the one bright spot in your dark existence.

    2. You write: Gary Cooper was so not looking haggard. He was the perfect middle aged playboy.

    He was. Where we come from, people watch movies with their eyes open.

    Of course, Bogie would have been a better fit in Love in the Afternoon. Sabrina, Casablanca, Maltese Falcon…Bogie rocks..

    3. No, we haven’t seen Whatever happened to Baby Jane. Will see it soon.

    But we want to see Wait Until Dark first.

  5. guruprasad.s   July 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Have you seen Audrey Hepburn’s (and Cary Grant’s) Charade ?
    A nice movie with quite a few good lines, and suspenseful till the last.

    Roman Holiday was (sort of) made in Hindi as Chori-Chori
    (Raj Kapoor, Nargis), although the music by Shankar Jaikishen is fine and original.
    Dil hai ki maanta nahi (Amir Khan, Pooja Bhatt) was
    also based on Roman Holiday.

    I watched a movie called Witness for Prosecution (Billy Wilder). An engrossing fare on the whole.
    Recommended. But before that, what about ‘Dial M for Murder’ ? I am sure you’ll enjoy it, that is, it will bowl you over.

    BTW, nice description of the old fogy from Mysore.
    Looks like you know namooru Mysooru like the back of your palm ;-).
    While GTR’s dosas and idlis remain nonpareil, I am afraid Gulli hotel does not exist anymore. Not sure if the Phalamrutha shop in Landsdowne buildings still works, although the building by itself seems to be in rather precarious state. Responds:

    1. No, haven’t seen Charade. But we will soon as we are in an Audrey mood lately.

    Will definitely watch Witness for Prosecution and Dial M for Murder.

    BTW, have you seen Love in the Afternoon?

    2. Roman Holiday in Hindi? That would not be mere theft but a sacrilege!

    3. You write: Looks like you know namooru Mysooru like the back of your palm

    So you must have listened to this old song Nammooru Mysooru from the Dwarkish film Preeti Madi Tamashi Nodi.

    4. You write: While GTR’s dosas and idlis remain nonpareil

    GTR, Gulli Hotel/Raju Hotel, Ballal Hotel, Indra Bhavan, Dasaprakash – Mysooru Oota-nae Oota, Swamy (good food in Mysore).

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