Posted on: 13 April 2010
PHYLLIS: We went into this together and we’re coming out at the end together. It’s straight down the line for both of us. Remember?
It’s rare for an actor to fully embody their role, to seem so genuinely real that we mistake character for reality, as the roles blend too well. Billy Wilder’s 1944 noir, Double Indemnity, owes much to the dirty duo of Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, bona fide Hollywood stars bold enough to take on the immorality tale of the decade. This is the film that launched an iconic twosome, and yet they had already met on screen four years prior. Many remain in the dark about Stanwyck and MacMurray’s other screen pairings, perhaps partially due to the relative unavailability of these films either on VHS or DVD.
As a prelude to our screening of Douglas Sirk’s There’s Always Tomorrow at 92YTribeca on Saturday, April 17th, we’ll be reviewing the four films starring Stanny and Fred; in each, one, if not both, are involved in illicit acts: 1940’s Remember the Night, penned by Preston Sturges and directed by Mitchell Leisen; the pair’s iconic turn in Double Indemnity, adapted from the novella by James M. Cain; The Moonlighter, a 3-D Western; and There’s Always Tomorrow, touching on Sirk’s persistent theme of suburban angst, but from a male point of view.
In a contemporary Hollywood era where the pairing of male and female stars often resembles a marketing campaign rather than a miracle of onscreen chemistry, Stanwyck and MacMurray are a marvelous respite. They don’t merely charm one another—whether on the right or wrong side of the tracks, they also captivate their audience.
|Remember the Night||1940|