Double Endemnity – Film Noir
(These are the words ‘verbatim’ Fred MacMurray spoke in the movie)
Office memorandum. Walter Neff to Barton Keyes, Claims Manager. Los Angeles, July 16th, 1938.
I suppose you’ll call this a confession when you hear it. I don’t like the word confession. I just want to set you right about something you couldn’t see because it was smack up against your nose.
You think you’re such a hot potato as a claims manager, such a wolf on a phoney claim. Maybe you are. But let’s take a look at that Dietrichson claim. Accident and Double Indemnity. You were pretty good in there for a while, Keyes. You said it wasn’t an accident. Check. You said it wasn’t suicide. Check. You said it was murder. Check.
You thought you had it cold, didn’t you. All wrapped up in tissue paper, with pink ribbons around it. It was perfect, except it wasn’t. Because you made one mistake. Just one little mistake. When it came to picking the killer, you picked the wrong guy.
You want to know who killed Dietrichson? Hold tight to that cheap cigar of yours, Keyes. I killed Dietrichson. Me, Walter Neff, insurance salesman, 35 years old, unmarried, no visible scars —
(He glances down at his wounded shoulder)
Until a while ago, that is. Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money — and for a woman — and I didn’t get the money — and I didn’t get the woman. Pretty, isn’t it?
He interrupts the dictation, lays down the horn on the desk.
He takes his lighted cigarette from the ash tray, puffs two or three times, and kills it. He picks up the horn again.
It all began last May. Around the end of May, it was. I’d been out to Glendale to deliver a policy on some dairy trucks. On the way back I remembered this auto renewal near Los Feliz Boulevard . So I drove over there. It was one of those California Spanish houses everyone was nuts about, 10 or 15 years ago. This one must have cost somebody about 30,000 bucks — that is, if he ever finished paying for it.