Insurance salesman Walter Neff and Phyllis Dietrichson, the unhappy wife of a wealthy oilman, start a dangerous, illicit love affair and hatch the perfect scheme to murder Phyllis’ husband and collect the insurance money.
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There's not a great deal to be added to the praise for this tight and tidy tautological thriller. The rat-a-tat-tat dialogue crackles and fizzes; the performances spark and the production raises a suitably knowing eyebrow - cast in contrasty photography - despite the morality closing-in. Delicious double trouble indeed.
Billy Wilder made DOUBLE INDEMNITY in 1944 when "film noir" did not exist. He thus accomplished a work free from bias or tangential reverence. At its most basic level, this is a crime film about two people clouded by greed and lust, reeling towards an inevitable bitter end. It's when Cain's seductive story met Chandler's crackling prose and Wilder's riveting direction. The proto-noir—perfect, straight down the line.
Particularly notable for homosexual undertones that skilfully bypassed the Hays Production Code. It is a cinematic triumph, both in the film noir sub-genre and its distinctive place in the history of film. A film to contextually deconstruct on repeat viewings.
Classic Billy Wilder co-written by Raymond Chandler nominated for seven Oscars. Barbara Stanwyck gives an iconic turn here as the femme fatale who manipulates an insurance salesman into murdering her husband. Great film noir with exceptional b&w photography by John Seitz. Sharp dialogue that just sings. '...I wonder if you wonder...'
I think Roger Ebert got it right when he said that this is a film about two people not exactly in love with each other, but enamoured of the screen personae they want to play. This also explains why they keep talking in Ben Hechtian dialogue throughout!
Brabara Stanwyck's ankle bracelet, Edward G. Robinson's little man in the stomach, Miklós Rózsa's musical score, James M. Cain's pessimism, Billy Wilder's intelligence, Barbara Stanwyck's eyes. Masterpiece.
a perfect noir: casting, script, cinematography... fate as one of the main themes, the sex appeal of (mortal) evil, lies, murder, ambition: greed + lust, out of some kind of pride. just love the use of schubert's unfinished symphony wich makes me love more than ever godard's histoire(s) du cinéma
Near the pinnacle of American filmmaking. The Wilder-Chandler script is brilliant, the two leads are as rotten as characters get, and John Seitz photography is a thing of beauty. It might not be my number one Wilder film, but it is very close and I never tire of watching it. It's a pleasure to watch and never fails to make me long for classic Hollywood.