Television pioneer Garry Marshall directs a new comedy about the creation of the film Double Indemnity

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by admin No Comments

When Billy Wilder directed Double Indemnity in 1944, he coined a new idiom: film noir, a style characterized by expressionistic lighting, dark shadows, and disillusioned, morally ambiguous characters. One would think this landmark occurrence would provide the basis for an eye-popping theatrical experience, but in the hands of playwright Mike Bencivenga, only the surface elements are explored. Billy & Ray is the name of Bencivenga’s comedy drama, which comes to the Vineyard Theatre after a run at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, California. The Billy is obvious; the Ray refers to Raymond Chandler, the detective-fiction novelist hired to help turn James M. Cain’s pulpy novel of love, lies, and murder into the screenplay that would get around Hollywood’s decency codes. Chandler (played here by Larry Pine) had very few demands. All he asked for was a thousand dollars up front and sole authorship. When he returned with a script deemed impossible to shoot by Wilder (Vincent Kartheiser, of Mad Men), they were forced to collaborate together against Chandler’s wishes.