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.Â 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).