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Question about the plot and ending to Double Indemnity (1944).

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SPOILER

After seeing the movie I was wondering why Neff came to Phyllis's house to kill her, but then decides to tell her, his plan and then turn his back to her allowing her to shoot him. Could he not just kill her right away, and did he perhaps on some level, want her to shoot him maybe?



SPOILER

After seeing the movie I was wondering why Neff came to Phyllis's house to kill her, but then decides to tell her, his plan and then turn his back to her allowing her to shoot him. Could he not just kill her right away, and did he perhaps on some level, want her to shoot him maybe?
Neff had turned to walk to the window to close the shades, evidently so that no one could see in when he killed her (presumably by strangulation). He didn't know that she had a gun. He was actually half turned back toward her when she shot him.

His being shot while turned halfway away might have been to set up the following scene where she was unable to fire a second shot after he'd moved closer, faced directly to her.

One of the great films...

~Doc



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But Neff himself brought a gun so why strangle her, when he has a gun? Could it be traced back to him?

It just seems like Neff did what Jesse James did in The Assassination of Jesse James, when Jesse knew he was going to be shot, so he went to go dust the picture on the wall, knowing he was turning his back on the people who wanted to shoot him.

Unless Neff was not pulling a Jesse James and I read him wrong. But if he was going to just close the shades and he didn't want Phyllis to shoot him as he turned his back, then why did he tell Phyllis he was going to kill her? He then puts Phyllis on the edge by doing that and she will be harder to kill since she is going to see it coming. So why tell her and have her see it coming?



Neff did not know that Phyllis had a gun, so he had no reason to suspect he was in danger from her.

Neff shot Phyllis with Phyllis's gun. I don't know that he had his own.

~!Doc



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Oh okay I thought Neff brought his own and then used it on her. But why didn't Phyllis realize that Neff took her gun away when he hugged her then?

And if Neff's plan was to kill her without a gun but with his bare hands, why did he tell her his plan and warn her it was coming? Why didn't he just kill her without telling her he was going to do it, so he could get her more by surprise?



Oh okay I thought Neff brought his own and then used it on her. But why didn't Phyllis realize that Neff took her gun away when he hugged her then?

And if Neff's plan was to kill her without a gun but with his bare hands, why did he tell her his plan and warn her it was coming? Why didn't he just kill her without telling her he was going to do it, so he could get her more by surprise?
Phyllis lowered the gun and let Neff take it after she told him that, because she couldn't shoot him, she realized that she loved him. Whether that was true or not, Neff evidently didn't buy it..

Neff's indication that he was going to kill her allowed the audience to catch up and understand all the plot lines between Phyllis, her husband's previous wife, her daughter, and Zachetti. In other words the writers had to explain to the audience why Neff was going to kill her.

I'm sure Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler had discussions about this scene. It would be interesting to read something they've written on the subject.

~Doc



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Okay thanks, I understand that the audience had to catch up, but it wasn't in Neff's character to explain everything to her and warn her that he was going to kill her. Why didn't they just have Neff explain what he was going to do, over his narration, since he has been narrating his thoughts for the whole movie anyway?