Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity quotes

43 total quotes (ID: 750)

Barton Keyes
Multiple Characters
Phyllis Dietrichson
Walter Neff


Phyllis: I was just fixing some ice tea; would you like a glass?
Walter Neff: Yeah, unless you got a bottle of beer that's not working.


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.

Phyllis: I'm a native Californian. Born right here in Los Angeles.
Walter Neff: They say all native Californians come from Iowa.

Stanwyck and MacMurray. Phyllis: Mr. Neff, why don't you drop by tomorrow evening about eight-thirty. He'll be in then.
Walter Neff: Who?
Phyllis: My husband. You were anxious to talk to him weren't you?
Walter Neff: Yeah, I was, but I'm sort of getting over the idea, if you know what I mean.
Phyllis: There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour.
Walter Neff: How fast was I going, officer?
Phyllis: I'd say around ninety.
Walter Neff: Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.
Phyllis: Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.
Walter Neff: Suppose it doesn't take.
Phyllis: Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.
Walter Neff: Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.
Phyllis: Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder.
Walter Neff: That tears it. [He takes his hat and briefcase after his advances are coldly rebuffed.] 8:30 tomorrow evening, then.
Phyllis: That's what I suggested.
Walter Neff: You'll be here too?
Phyllis: I guess so, I usually am.
Walter Neff: Same chair, same perfume, same anklet?
Phyllis: I wonder if I know what you mean.
Walter Neff: I wonder if you wonder.

Porter: [referring to insurance] They wouldn't ever sell me any. They said I had something loose in my heart.

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.

[Norton, Keyes's boss, has just tried, unsuccessfully, to convince a client that her husband's death was a suicide]
Barton Keyes: You know, you, uh, oughta take a look at the statistics on suicide some time. You might learn a little something about the insurance business.
Edward S. Norton: Mister Keyes, I was RAISED in the insurance business.
Barton Keyes: Yeah, in the front office. Come now, you've never read an actuarial table in your life, have you? Why they've got ten volumes on suicide alone. Suicide by race, by color, by occupation, by sex, by seasons of the year, by time of day. Suicide, how committed: by poison, by firearms, by drowning, by leaps. Suicide by poison, subdivided by TYPES of poison, such as corrosive, irritant, systemic, gaseous, narcotic, alkaloid, protein, and so forth. Suicide by leaps, subdivided by leaps from high places, under the wheels of trains, under the wheels of trucks, under the feet of horses, from STEAMBOATS. But, Mr. Norton: Of all the cases on record, there's not one single case of suicide by leap from the rear end of a moving train. And you know how fast that train was going at the point where the body was found? Fifteen miles an hour. Now how can anybody jump off a slow-moving train like that with any kind of expectation that he would kill himself? No, no soap, Mr. Norton. We're sunk, and we'll have to pay through the nose, and you know it.

Office memorandum. 'Walter Neff to Barton Keyes, Claims Manager, Los Angeles, July 16, 1938. Dear Keyes: I suppose you'll call this a confession when you hear it. Well, 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 phony 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 shoulder wound.] - until a while ago, that is. Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money and for a woman. I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it?'

Murder is never perfect. It always comes apart sooner or later. When two people are involved, it's usually sooner. Now we know the Dietrichson dame is in it and the somebody else. Pretty soon, we'll know who that somebody else is. He'll show. He's got to show. Sometime, somewhere, they've got to meet. Their emotions are all kicked up. Whether it's love or hate, it doesn't matter. They can't keep away from each other. They may think it's twice as safe because there are two of them. But it isn't twice as safe. It's ten times twice as dangerous. They've committed a murder. And it's not like taking a trolley ride together where they can get off at different stops. They're stuck with each other and they've got to ride all the way to the end of the line and it's a one-way trip and the last stop is the cemetery.

You sure carried that ball. Only you fumbled on the goal line. Then you heaved an illegal forward pass and got thrown for a forty-yard loss. Now you can't pick yourself up because you haven't got a leg to stand on.

Walter: Afraid, baby?
Phyllis: Yes, I'm afraid. But not of Keyes. I'm afraid of us. We're not the same anymore. We did it so we could be together but instead of that, it's pulling us apart, isn't it, Walter?
Walter: What are you talking about?
Phyllis: And you don't really care whether we see each other or not.
Walter: [kissing her] Shut up, baby.

I picked you for the job, not because I think you're so darn smart, but because I thought you were a shade less dumb than the rest of the outfit. Guess I was wrong. You're not smarter, Walter... you're just a little taller.

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.

Walter: Look, baby. You can't get away with it. You want to knock him off, don't ya?
Phyllis: That's a horrible thing to say.
Walter: Whaddya think I was anyway? A guy that walks into a good-looking dame's front parlor and says, 'Good afternoon. I sell accident insurance on husbands. Have you got one that's been around too long? One you'd like to turn into a little hard cash? Just give me a smile and I'll help you collect?' Huh! Boy, what a dope you must think I am!
Phyllis: I think you're rotten.
Walter: I think you're swell. So long as I'm not your husband.
Phyllis: Get out of here.
Walter: You bet I'll get out of here, baby. I'll get out of here but quick.

That was all there was to it. Nothing had slipped, nothing had been overlooked, there was nothing to give us away. And yet, Keyes, as I was walking down the street to the drugstore, suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy, Keyes, but it's true, so help me. I couldn't hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man.