The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Art of Cinema #129

Double Indemnity
(Billy Wilder; 1944)


Vanwall said...

One helluva poster, IMHO, and a favorite of mine. Damned strange if those foreign posters don't capture something that eluded H'wood's chosen displays. Even stranger, it looks like they used part of the deleted death-row scene that Wilder claimed was one of the best things he ever did, and could have won both Robinson and the vastly under-rated McMurray well-deserved Oscars. I understood that scene is lost, and it would be quite something to see. Curious.


Tom Sutpen said...

I hadn't thought of that. It's possible that whomever did the poster art (presumably in Spain, though I could be wrong) was working from stills generated at a time when the Death House scene was still in the picture. If any were circulated, though, I've never seen them.

Even with the scene dropped, Robinson and MacMurray still deserved accolades, if not Academy Awards.

Did any director utilize Fred MacMurray better than Billy Wilder did?

Vanwall said...

I thought about the studio still take, too, and that's interesting - perhaps there's more out there. It's actually the best DI poster, for my money.

I find this film fascinating for so many crackerjack performances - and Fred was just flat amazing. Every once in a while, like in "Face of a Fugitive", where he inverts a standard oater, or "Pushover", where he exhibits more depth than the part called for, MacMurray managed to really get my attention. Wilder brought out the best in 'im, for sure, tho - he is totally perfect in this one and in "The Apartment".

Peter L. Winkler said...

Yes, I've seen a still of the deleted scene. It was either in a film noir issue of Film Comment from the mid-70s or in a book titled Raymond Chandler In Hollywood.

In the still, Walter Neff is sitting in the gas chamber and Keyes is one of the observers looking at him through the chamber's windows.