“Doublie Indemnity is the finest picture of it’s kind ever made, I make that flat statement without any fear of of getting indegestion fromeatig my words later.” Louella Parsons
Double Indemnity is a 1944 American film noir starring Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson and Barbara Stanwyck. It was directed by Billy Wilder who also co-wrote it with Raymond Chandler. All three leads were relcutant to take the roles, especailly Stanwyck who at the time was the highest paid actress in America, but they did and the rest, as they say, is history. The film, despite its dark subject, was a huge critical and commercial success and is seen now as the founding film of the Amercian film noir tradition. By consistently juxtaposing the bright sunny California exterior with dark, dirty, gloomy interior shots Wilder perfectly established the mood and atmosphere of this quintessential film noir. To this he then added a dramatic element of light and shadows, particularly the use of “venetian blind” lighting to create an illusion of prison bars. Combine all this with incredibly witty and sharp dialogue to make this a classic not to be used. Of course there is plenty of great fashion, Stanwyck’s floral blouse in an early scene deserves special mention, and although her wig has garnered criticism for being too obvioulsy fake, I think it looks fine and agree with Wilder that is simply adds to her character’s bad taste.
Definitely take a look at this masterpiece – if you have not already done so.