Sunday, April 11, 2010

My moviegoing: 2003

from Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity (1944)
Austin Film Society's European Directors in Hollywood series
When I saw this film, some of the audience laughed with smug, knowing condescension at an admiring comment Fred MacMurray's character tells Barbara Stanwyck's about the value of her home. I have to paraphrase, but he said that a house as nice as Stanwyck's must have set her back about $30,000, which caused a portion of the audience to react with that exaggerated, self-satisfied laughter you sometimes have to hear when you see an old movie in a theater. Look at how sophisticated we are compared to these 1940s rubes. Let us laugh at them with their foolishly reasonable home prices. We live in a more refined era, an era in which we pay grotesquely inflated prices for basic housing. Yes, that's right. We're laughing at them. Stupid old-timey rubes.
Other than those few moments of irritation, seeing this movie on the big screen was an absolute pleasure.

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