Double Indemnity (1944) Poster

Fred MacMurray: Walter Neff



  • Walter Neff : Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money - and a woman - and I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it?

  • [last lines] 

    Walter Neff : Know why you couldn't figure this one, Keyes? I'll tell ya. 'Cause the guy you were looking for was too close. Right across the desk from ya.

    Barton Keyes : Closer than that, Walter.

    Walter Neff : I love you, too.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Phyllis : Neff is the name, isn't it?

    Walter Neff : Yeah. Two "F"s, like in Philadelphia, if you know the story.

    Phyllis : What story?

    Walter Neff : The Philadelphia Story.

  • Walter Neff : 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.

  • Walter Neff : Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?

  • Phyllis : We're both rotten.

    Walter Neff : Only you're a little more rotten.

  • Phyllis : I think you're rotten.

    Walter Neff : I think you're swell - so long as I'm not your husband.

    Phyllis : Get out of here.

    Walter Neff : You bet I'll get out of here, baby. I'll get out of here but quick.

  • Walter Neff : 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.

  • Walter Neff : 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 y'are. But let's take a look at that Dietrichson claim... accident and double indemnity. You were pretty good in there for awhile Keyes... you said it wasn't an accident, check. You said it wasn't suicide, check. You said it was murder... check.

  • Walter Neff : 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 Neff : 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.

  • Walter Neff : How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?

  • Walter Neff : I get the general idea. She was a tramp from a long line of tramps.

  • Walter Neff : Hello, Keyes. You're up pretty early, aren't you? I always wondered what time you got down to the office. Or did that little man of yours pull you out of bed?

    Barton Keyes : The janitor did. Seems you leaked a little blood on the way in here.

    Walter Neff : Yeah, wouldn't be surprised. I wanted to straighten you out on that Dietrichson case.

    Barton Keyes : So I gather.

    Walter Neff : How long you been standing there?

    Barton Keyes : Long enough.

    Walter Neff : Kind of a crazy story with a crazy twist to it. One you didn't quite figure out.

    Barton Keyes : You can't figure them all, Walter.

    Walter Neff : That's right. I guess you can't at that. Now I suppose I get the big speech. The one with all the two dollar words in it. Let's have it, Keyes.

    Barton Keyes : Walter, you're all washed up.

  • Barton Keyes : Just came from Norton's office. Semiannual sales records are out. You're high man, Walter. That's twice in a row. Congratulations.

    Walter Neff : Thanks. How'd you like a cheap drink?

    Barton Keyes : How'd you like a $50 cut in salary?

    Walter Neff : Do I laugh now or wait til it gets funny?

    Barton Keyes : I'm serious. I've just been talking to Norton. Too much stuff piling up on my desk. Too much pressure on my nerves. I spend half the night walking up and down on my bed. I've got to have an assistant and I thought of you.

    Walter Neff : Me? Why pick on me?

    Barton Keyes : 'Cause I've got a crazy idea you might be good at the job.

    Walter Neff : That's crazy all right. I'm a salesman.

    Barton Keyes : Yeah, peddlar. Glad-handler. Back-slapper. You're too good to be a salesman.

    Walter Neff : Nobody's too good to be a salesman.

    Barton Keyes : Phooey. All you guys do is ring a doorbell and hand out a smooth line of monkey dough. What's troubling you is that fifty buck cut, isn't it?

    Walter Neff : That'd trouble anybody.

    Barton Keyes : Look Walter, the job I'm talking about takes brains and integrity. It takes more guts than there is in 50 salesmen. It's the hardest job in the business.

    Walter Neff : Yeah, but it's still a desk job. I don't want to be nailed to a desk.

    Barton Keyes : Desk job? Is that all you can see in it? Just a hard chair to park your pants on from 9 to 5? Just a pile of papers to shuffle around and 5 sharp pencils and a scratchpad 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, is a doctor and a bloodhound and a

    [phone rings. Keyes answers] 

    Barton Keyes : Who? Okay, hold on a minute. A claims man 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 want to do is work with your finger on the doorbell for a few bucks more a week. There's a dame on your phone.

  • Phyllis : I'm a native Californian. Born right here in Los Angeles.

    Walter Neff : They say all native Californians come from Iowa.

  • Walter Neff : That's a honey of an anklet you're wearing, Mrs. Dietrichson.

  • 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.

  • Walter Neff : Who'd you think I was anyway? The guy that walks into a good looking dame's front parlour and says, "Good afternoon, I sell accident insurance on husbands... you got one that's been around too long? One you'd like to turn into a little hard cash?"

  • Barton Keyes : Now that's enough out of you, Walter. Now get outta here before I throw my desk at you.

    [looks in his pocket for a match] 

    Walter Neff : [takes a match of his own and lights Keyes' cigar]  I love you, too.


    Walter Neff : I really did, too, you old crab. Always yelling your head off, always sore at everybody. You never fooled me with your song and dance, not for a second. I kinda always knew that behind all the cigar ashes on your vest was a heart as big as a house.

  • Barton Keyes : What's the matter? Dames chasing you again? Or still? Or is it none of my business?

    Walter Neff : If I told you it was a customer, you'd...

    Barton Keyes : "Margie"! I bet she drinks from the bottle.

  • Walter Neff : What do the police figure?

    Barton Keyes : That he got tangled up in his crutches and fell off the train. They're satisfied. It's not their dough.

  • Phyllis : Do you make your own breakfast, Mr Neff?

    Walter Neff : Well, I squeeze a grapefruit now and again.

  • Walter Neff : [Recurring line, spoken several times by both the principal characters Walter Neff and by Phyllis Dietrichson]  "Right down the line" or "straight down the line".

  • Walter Neff : You know, about six months ago, a guy slipped on a cake of soap in his bathtub, knocked himself cold, and was drowned. Only, he had accident insurance, so they had an autopsy, and she didn't get away with it

    Phyllis : Who didn't?

    Walter Neff : His wife. Then there was the case of the guy who was found shot. His wife said he was cleaning his gun and his stomach got in the way. All she got was a 3-to-10 stretch in Tehachapi

    [a California women's prison] 

    Walter Neff : .

    Phyllis : [Wearily]  Perhaps it was worth it to her.

See also

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