RARA-AVIS: Billy Wilder dies

From: Rene Ribic ( rribic@optusnet.com.au)
Date: 28 Mar 2002

Another great artist has gone to Jehovah. Billy Wilder was a great Hollywood director by any standards but deserves to be revered by rare-birds for 3 particular movies - LOST WEEKEND, SUNSET BOULEVARD & the archetypal film noir, DOUBLE INDEMNITY. Until I'd seen DOUBLE INDEMNITY, Fred MacMurray & Barbara Stanwyck were 2 of my least favourite actors but this flick was a revelation. Both of them, especially MacMurray, were brilliant. The whole movie is stone brilliant. IMO, it transcends the book, which I feel doesn't hold a candle to THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. A little while ago someone mentioned "perfect" books, IIRC. POSTMAN was the one book that immediately leaped into my mind. Don't get me wrong, D.I. the novel is fine, it just don't compare to POSTMAN. The movie, though ... the first shots of Phyllis (Stanwyck), or more exactly, her feet, descending a flight of stairs while Walter (MacMurray) stares at her ankles, above
,IIRC, high heel pumps, a bright silver (?) anklet almost as bright as a laser flashing at the camera. To my mind, this is the most perfect expression of lust I've ever seen on the big (or little) screen.(Since I first saw DOUBLE INDEMNITY I've seen 1 or 2 other films noir with either Fred or Barbara (note: we are on 1st name terms now) so I have a much higher opinion of both.Previous to discovering these great old flicks these guys were "My Three Sons" & "Big Country" (?) (if that's the Western series where Barbs played a matriarchal answer to Ben Cartwright) to me. (Do I remember correctly that this series was based, at least originally, on a Donald Hamilton Western novel?) Anyhow, "Vale, Billy Wilder". (How come I only realise these guys WERE still alive when they actually do die?)


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Mar 2002 EST