Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity quotes

43 total quotes (ID: 750)

Barton Keyes
Multiple Characters
Phyllis Dietrichson
Walter Neff


It was a hot afternoon, and I can still remember the smell of honeysuckle all along that street. How could I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle? Maybe you would have known Keyes the minute she mentioned accident insurance, but I didn't. I felt like a million.


The job I'm talking about takes brains and integrity. It takes more guts than there is in 50 salesmen. It's the hottest job in the business...Desk job? Is that all you can see in it? Just a hard chair to park your pants on from 9 to 5, huh? Just a pile of papers to shuffle around and five sharp pencils and a scratch pad to make figures on. Maybe a little doodling on the side. Well, that's not the way I look at it, Walter. To me, a claims man is a surgeon. That desk is an operating table. And those pencils are scalpels and bone chisels. And those papers are not just forms and statistics and claims for compensation, they're alive, they're packed with drama, with twisted hopes and crooked dreams. A claims man, Walter, is a doctor and a bloodhound...and a cop and a judge and a jury and a father confessor all in one. And you want to tell me you're not interested. You don't want to work with your brains. All you wanna work is with your finger on the doorbell, for a few bucks more a week.

Keyes: Every month, hundreds of claims come to this desk. Some of them are phonies. And I know which ones. How do I know? Because my little man tells me.
Garlopis: What little man?
Keyes: The little man in here. Every time one of these phonies comes along, it ties knots in my stomach. I can't eat.

Phyllis: [referring to Lola] She's putting on an act for you, crying all over your shoulder, that lying...
Walter: Keep her out of this. All I'm telling you is, we're not going to sue.
Phyllis: Because you don't want the money any more even if you could have it, because she's made you feel like a heel all of a sudden?
Walter: It isn't the money any more. It's our necks. We're pulling out. Do you understand?
Phyllis: Because of what Keyes can do? You're not fooling me, Walter. It's because of Lola. What you did to her father. You're afraid she might find out someday and you can't take it, can you?
Walter: I said, 'Leave her out of this.'
Phyllis: It's me I'm talking about. I don't want to be left out of it.
Walter: Stop saying that. It's just that it hasn't worked out as we wanted. We can't go through with it, that's all.
Phyllis: We have gone through with it, Walter. The tough part is all behind us. We just have to hold on now and not go soft inside. Stick close together the way we started out...I loved you, Walter, and I hated him. But I wasn't going to do anything about it. Not until I met you. You planned the whole thing. I only wanted him dead.
Walter: And I'm the one that fixed it so he was dead. Is that what you're telling me?
Phyllis: And nobody's pulling out. We went into this together and we're coming out at the end together. It's straight down the line for both of us. Remember?
Walter: [voiceover] Yes, I remembered. Just like I remembered what you had told me, Keyes. About that trolley car ride and how there was no getting off until the end of the line where the cemetery was. And then I got to thinking what cemeteries are for. They're to put dead people in. I guess that was the first time I ever thought about Phyllis that way. Dead, I mean. And how it would be if she were dead.

[to a towel-clad Phyllis] The insurance ran out on the 15th. I'd hate to think of your having a smashed fender or something while you're not, uh, fully covered.

The living room was still stuffy from last night's cigars. The windows were closed and the sunshine coming in through the venetian blinds showed up the dust in the air. On the piano in a couple of fancy frames were Mr. Dietrichson and Lola, his daughter by his first wife. They had a bowl of those little red goldfish on the table behind the big Davenport. But to tell you the truth, Keyes, I wasn't a whole lot interested in goldfish right then, not in auto renewals, nor in Mr. Dietrichson and his daughter Lola. I was thinking about that dame upstairs and the way she had looked at me, and I wanted to see her again, close, without that silly staircase between us.

That's a honey of an anklet you're wearing, Mrs. Dietrichson.

[to Keyes] You're so darn conscientious you're driving yourself crazy. You wouldn't even say today's Tuesday unless you looked at the calendar. Then, you'd check to see if it was this year's or last year's calendar. Then you'd find out who'd printed the calendar and find out if their calendar checked with the World Almanac's Calendar.

So I let her have it, straight between the eyes. She didn't fool me for a minute, not this time. I knew I had ahold of a red hot poker, and the time to drop it was before it burned my hand off. I was all twisted up inside and I was still holding on to that red-hot poker. And right then it came over me that I hadn't walked out on anything at all, that the hope was too strong, that this wasn't the end between her and me. It was only the beginning.

It's just like the first time I came here, isn't it? We were talking about automobile insurance, only you were thinking about murder. And I was thinking about that anklet.

Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?

If you had that accident policy and tried to pull a monoxide job, we've got a guy in our office named Keyes. For him, a set-up like that would just be like a slice of rare roast beef. In three minutes, he'd know it wasn't an accident. In ten minutes, you'd be sitting under the hot lights. In a half hour, you'd be signing your name to a confession...They know more tricks than a carload of monkeys. And if there's a death mixed up in it, you haven't got a prayer. They'll hang you just as sure as ten dimes will buy a dollar.

So we just sat there, and she started crying softly like the rain on the window. And we didn't say anything. Maybe she had stopped thinking about it, but I hadn't. I couldn't because it was all tied up with something I'd been thinking about for years. Since long before I ever ran into Phyllis Dietrichson. Because, you know how it is Keyes, in this business you can't sleep for trying to figure out all the tricks they could pull on you. You're like the guy behind the roulette wheel, watching the customers to make sure they don't crook the house. And then one night, you get to thinking how you could crook the house yourself. And do it smart. Because you've got that wheel right under your hands. You know every notch in it by heart. And you figure all you need is a plant out front, a shill to put down the bet. And suddenly the doorbell rings and the whole setup is right there in the room with ya. (pause) Look, Keyes, I'm not trying to whitewash myself. I fought it, only I guess I didn't fight it hard enough. The stakes were $50,000 dollars, but they were the life of a man too, a man who'd never done me any dirt except he was married to a woman he didn't care anything about. And I did.

I was trying to think with your brains, Keyes, 'cause I wanted all the answers ready for all the, all the questions you were gonna spring as soon as Dietrichson was dead.

After that, a full week went by and I didn't see her once. I tried to keep my mind off her and off the whole idea. I kept telling myself that maybe those Fates they say watch over ya had gotten together and broken his leg to give me a way out.