to encourage them to wrestle with a pair of larger contexts, having to do with genre and with place. What does it mean to view this as a California story? What does it suggest about the psyche of the state? At the same time, I want to insist, Double Indemnity achieves what all great art aspires to do—it creates a universe of its own. Is such a universe naturalistic? To some extent, I suppose, although that is not the point. Rather, what’s evoked is a moral landscape, in which we slip between stark polarities: identifying with the characters, their longing and their damage, while also recognizing their downfall, its inevitability, as a cautionary tale.