God damn. This is a great adaptation of a great novel. No great shock there, since it was adapted for the screen by Billy Wilder (who also directed) and Raymond Chandler, from James M. Cain’s novel. I mean, come on.
The choice to keep everything from Walter’s perspective, as the novel is, was a smart one. That first-person perspective adds to the feeling of desperation and closeness throughout. And who wouldn’t do murder for Phyllis? LOOK AT HER.
Unfortunately, one of the two female roles was cut down considerably, which bothered me. Not because I care about being true to the source material (different mediums require different storytelling, and anyway this is remarkably true to the source) but because jesus christ, there were only two ladies in the damn thing to begin with.
Barbara Stanwyck, though. Fred MacMurray. Oh man. Those two, with Edward G. Robinson to boot? UGH. I DIE. And as if that isn’t enough, one of my favorite character actors, Porter Hall, has a small role as the man on the train with Walter.