Directed by Billy Wilder (The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard), Double Indemnity was based on a novella by James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice) and adapted by Wilder and Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep) — so you know it’s the real, hard-boiled deal. Fred MacMurray stars as Walter, an insurance salesman who becomes involved with Phyllis (the incredible Barbara Stanwyck), a tough dame who wants to see her husband six feet under. Together they hatch a plan of murder, to make it look accidental to fall under the double indemnity clause so as to double their pay-out. As these things go of course, the plan is a loaded gun and what results is a beautifully paced noir thriller.
Why You Should See This Film
Considered one of the all-time great American film noirs, Double Indemnity is a must for not just those interested in the history of cinema but anyone who wants to slink back to the classic suspense movies of a lost tinseltown. At the time of its release, both Stanwyck and MacMurray were the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Stanwyck was initially hesitant to take it on as it was so far removed from her previous roles. Reportedly Wilder came back with “Are you a mouse or an actress?” She chose the latter.
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- Year: 1944
- Rating: PG
- Director: Billy Wilder
- Cast: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
- Duration: 110 minutes
- Language: English