Let's talk about sex, baby
Let's talk about you and me
Let's talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let's talk about sex
Let's talk about sex
That's how the chorus to one of the most popular songs ever recorded by the legendary Salt-N-Pepa goes. And it's what we're doing today as part of The 2nd Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) Blogathon hosted by Movie Movie Blog Blog. However, the title is a just a tad misleading. The movies we're talking about have to be sexy without resorting to nudity, love scenes, and/or dirty talk. In his words...
The movie you choose can be from any era (even silent), but it needs to be a movie that subtly suggests sex. No writhing, naked bodies, and no explicit dialogue about how much one person wants to go to bed with another.
That means a movie I find to be one of the sexiest ever made, Body Heat is way out. Even more out of bounds is stuff like 9 1/2 Weeks, Love Jones, or Blue is the Warmest Color. In other words, nothing like another Salt-N-Pepa song...
Yo, yo, yo, yo, baby-pop
Yeah, you come here, gimme a kiss
Better make it fast or else I'm gonna get pissed
Can't you hear the music's pumpin' hard like I wish you would?
Now push it
Push it good
Push it real good
Yeah, we're not going down that route.
That said, I feel like I'm cheating a little bit. It's not that my film has any writhing, naked bodies, or explicit dialogue. However, I just don't know that I would call it subtle. Then again, it probably is, because I'm fairly confident that I could let my teenagers watch it and two thirds of what's said will fly right over their heads.
The film I'm talking about is none other than what I consider to be the greatest film noir of all-time, Double Indemnity starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. If you don't know the plot of this movie, you should, but I'll give you a quick rundown, anyway.
MacMurray plays Walter Neff and insurance salesman who shows up at the house of a wealthy man in hopes of renewing an auto insurance policy. When he arrives, the man isn't home, but his gorgeous wife Phyllis Dietrichson greets him. She manages to seduce Mr. Neff and convince him to help her take out an accident policy on her husband without his knowledge and murder the man in convincing enough fashion for her to claim the benefit.
Almost from the instant Walter and Phyllis meet, they're clamoring to jump each other's bones. However, this is a movie that was made in 1944. Audiences, or at least the censors, weren't ready for characters to just come right out and say that. Instead, what we get is some of the most incredible dialogue to ever make it to the silver screen. It's filled with a ridiculous amount of double entendre that are both funny and sexy. Some of them are so sly that you might miss what's actually being said. It starts right away, the first time our lovebirds share a scene.
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.
|That's as naked as she gets, folks.|
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.
That last line lets us know this dude is just straight up being forward. Even after he's left her, he can't get over how sexy she is. He drives this point home by saying "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." All I can think whenever I hear him say that is 'dude, you got it bad.'
Walter's having it so bad is the thing that makes it so sexy. Throughout the movie it is clear he has fallen head over heels for Phyllis. She is practically all he can think of, and it's quite clear he'll do anything for her. We're not so sure about Phyllis, but she is so convincing she not only seduces Walter, she seduces us, as well. We're quite aware of her duplicitous nature, however, we're not above being roped in by her feminine wiles. For that matter, Walter expresses the occasional doubt, he just can't help himself any more than we can help ourselves in the audience. It's a masterful performance by Stanwyck. She casts an unbreakable spell on her leading man and on the viewers. She exemplifies sexiness without removing a stitch of clothing. It's all in the subtle looks, the purposeful pauses, and her exquisite delivery of that magnificent dialogue.
MacMurray's performance is no less perfect. In lots of way, he represents us. He is so utterly mesmerized by her that even when his instincts tell him not to trust her, he does exactly that. So do we. Through it all, MacMurray makes sure to bring Walter across as a man who fully believes that he is in control of things, especially his affair with Phyllis. Sure, the idea was hers, but he was going to be the one to make a plan and follow it to a tee. Of course, she is a master at letting him think he's in charge.
In the end, well, I won't spoil it, but in the end the story unfolds wonderfully. We've spent most of the movie warning Walter about Phyllis with him not listening. By the same token, we fully understand why he doesn't. She is so enchanting, she leaves us no choice but to be captivated. As she captivates us, the film itself does the same. Double Indemnity gives us sexiness without sex. The heat between Walter and Phyllis is more than palatable. It leaps off the screen and permeates the room we're sitting in.