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Double Indemnity

(DVD - 2006)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Double Indemnity
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"A calculating wife encourages her wealthy husband to sign a double indemnity policy proposed by smitten insurance agent Walter Neff. As the would-be lovers plot the unsuspecting husband's murder, they are pursued by a suspicious claims manager. It's a race against time to get away with the perfect crime in this heart-pounding Academy Award-nominated masterpiece"--Container.

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Publisher: Universal City, CA : Universal Studios Home Entertainment, [2006]
Edition: 2-disc special ed
ISBN: 1417072512
Branch Call Number: DVD MOVIE D
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (107 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.

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List - Film Noir 101 by: nypl_mid_manhattan Aug 18, 2012

Double Indemnity (1944, 107 min) is directed by Billy Wilder and stars Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson. The script was co-written by Raymond Chandler. Originally released by Paramount Pictures on April 24, 1944.


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Nov 13, 2014
  • plotline rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Approaching Perfection

Mrs. Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) and Mr. Neff (Fred MacMurray) have murder in mind. Target: Mr. Dietrichson. Have the smooth-talking insurance man (Neff) get the grumpy husband to sign, unknowingly, for an accident policy, then bump off the husband, sit back and wait for the fat settlement check to arrive. It's a diabolical plan that works perfectly...until Mrs. Dietrichson gets something else in mind.

That's the cold-blooded set up in Billy Wilder's superb noir, DOUBLE INDEMNITY. And it's a miracle the film was ever made.

From Maurice Zolotow's excellent biography, BILLY WILDER IN HOLLYWOOD, we learn: the production exec at Paramount thought it was a "dirty" movie and fought it; Charles Brackett, Wilder's longtime collaborator, found the idea of it "disgusting" and refused to work on it; every agent and every actor in Hollywood, including MacMurray, avoided the Neff role: too lowdown sleazy; Wilder and crime novelist/screenwriter Raymond Chandler engaged in a battle of eccentrics...they loathed each other.

But who ever said art was easy? Stanwyck and MacMurray play the spider and the not-so-helpless fly, respectively, as though they were born to the parts. Edward G. Robinson as claims adjuster Barton Keyes puts on a virtual acting clinic: gesticulating, scowling, sneering, rolling the words off his tongue with obvious delight and ingenious timing. It is one of his most brilliant, awe-inspiring portrayals.

DOUBLE INDEMNITY has been cited as the first noir to reveal the killer in the early scenes; it is also the first to use an extended voice-over flashback to tell the story, an approach that has been imitated ad infinitum. Two more things: the inspired opening credits- the growing shadow of a crippled man that finally engulfs the screen; and that devastating fade-out at the end. The film is easily one of the greatest noirs ever made.

Noir to see: I WAKE UP SCREAMING-1941; NIGHT AND THE CITY-1950; CAPE FEAR-1962;

Jul 05, 2014
  • midnight_fleur28 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a true masterpiece. An amazing film noir directed by the great Billy Wilder. Every moment of this film is captivating. If you like Film Noir, then you will most likely love this. It is captivating from beginning to end. The black and white is stunningly beautiful!! Hands down, this is a Must See.

Jul 02, 2014
  • garycornell rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great movies like Double Indemnity take a great director, in this case Billy Wilder. He then puts together a great cast and production team. I am here to tell you that these people made one of Hollywood's finest movies. It is thrilling, chilling and darn right entertaining. A Big Five Star Classic with emotional punch. Few movies punch as good as Double Indemnity!

Jun 12, 2014
  • Isley rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Masterpiece of film noir that really is as good as everyone says. Still, though a master and a genius, there is something about Billy Wilder that doesn’t quite click with me, though, I'm not sure what it is--he’s definitely cynical enough.

Apr 05, 2014
  • mapmusic17 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

5 Stars. One of the all time greats. The stars have never been better. Grab it now OR ELSE.

Dec 08, 2013
  • theorbys rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Impeccably made, and unforgetable.

Oct 22, 2013
  • Bazooka_Joe rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Released in 1944 - Double Indemnity's story of vicious betrayal may be somewhat flawed and inconsistent. - And, its 3 principal actors may have been miscast (especially Barbara Stanwyck as the deceitfully wicked femme fatale in a cheap-looking wig) - But, overall, it's quite easy to see why this vintage, Hollywood Crime/Drama is considered to be a true "classic" of 1940s Film Noir._____ Containing plenty of loaded dialogue, dim, shadowy settings, and flashes of well-timed tension, Double Indemnity's story of murder and deception comes together quite nicely as the scattered pieces of its plot-line eventually all fit into one like that of a master jigsaw puzzle._____ Fred MacMurray plays Walter Neff, an over-confident, but naively gullible insurance salesman, who, thinking that he's got it all figured out, gets played for a prize sucker when the seductive, well-to-do Mrs. Dietrichson snares him into a diabolical plot to kill her husband in order to collect $100,000 through the double indemnity clause in his life insurance policy._____ Filmed in glossy b&w, Double Indemnity's story was co-written by the famed crime-novelist Raymond Chandler. It was directed by Billy Wilder, known for such films as Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot.

Feb 22, 2013
  • d1967 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Edward G Robinson is perhaps the best movie star ever !

Jan 29, 2013
  • viguyy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the masterful grand daddies of Film Noir. The first of many great masterpieces to follow from one of Hollywood's greatest talents, Billy Wilder. This film became a blue-print for many new fresh ideas in Hollywood film making.

The script was written by Wilder & Raymond Chandler & crackled with sharp double on-tundra quips deliciously delivered by both the lead actors Fred MacMurray & Barbara Stanwyck. As the story goes no one else wanted to play the roles in this seedy morally corrupt caper. But as fate would have it both Stanwyck & MacMurray were perfect for the parts & did some of their very best work on screen. I would also be remiss in not mentioning the great Edward G. Robinson's performance as Keyes, the claims manager who is the detective in this noir classic. What is really fascinating is the uniquely nuanced relationships amongst the leads. Particularly Robinson's & MacMurrays characters who clearly respect & care very much for one another. Perhaps they love each other as colleagues & friends. And what is the real story between Stanwyck's & MacMurray? Do they love each other? It seems not, right up to the final scene when thay are together. We never will really know. Brilliant stuff!

Along with the legendary photography of one John Seitz who really developed the noir style with this picture. With it's high contrast scenes, to it's sharp edged shadows & interesting angles & composition Seitz helped create a look that is a classic & has been copied countless times in films to follow.

The film is unique & brilliant in it's detail. It's brilliant in its cold characters, it's more realistic portrayal of the personal frailties & greed of our species. It stripped back the layers of naivety & reveled a much more cynical & raw realism that was certainly cutting edge when the film was released to an appreciative audience in 1944.

Like many of the great films one viewing is not enough to fully appreciate this films brilliance & artistry. Double indemnity is surely one of the great Hollywood films of all time.

Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

(Two disc set) ** (1944) Billy Wilder's (and Raymond Chandler's) noir masterpiece, based on James M. Cain's pulp novel, that epitomizes the genre (and effectively then legitimized it from its previously seedy reputation). The likeable Fred MacMurray (he had a 'good' face) is razor sharp, cool as a cucumber... (I counted 28 "baby"s from him! lol). Barbara Stanwyck's femme fatale, and her far-away eyes, is hypnotic, sultry... (except for that straw hat on her head that was supposed to be a wig). Edward G. Robinson was on fire as the omnipotent (obsessive/compulsive) insurance claims manager, delivering rapid fire debate. Devious scheming/double crossing; malevolent lighting/photography/score... "Perfect. Straight down the line." FIVE STARS. ** (1973) A Steven Bochco made for TV remake. Atrocious. Un-stylized, run of the mill, tele-crap. An insult to the original. You 'botched' it, Mr. Bochco.

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Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Walter Neff (voiceover): "That was all there was to it. Nothing had slipped, nothing had been overlooked.There was nothing to give us away. And yet, Keyes, as I was walking down the street to the drugstore, suddenly, it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy Keyes, but it's true, so help me. ...I couldn't hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man."

Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Edward S. Norton: "There's a widespread feeling that just because a man has a large office he must be an idiot."

Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Walter Neff (voiceover): "How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?"

Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Walter Neff: "Look baby, you can't get away with it. You wanna knock him off, don'tcha." Phyllis Dietrichson: "That's a horrible thing to say." Walter Neff: "Who'd you think I was anyway? The guy that walks into a good looking dame's front parlor and says, "Good afternoon, I sell accident insurance on husbands... you got one that's been around too long? One you'd like to turn into a little hard cash?" Just gimme a smile and I'll help you collect? Boy, what a dope you must think I am." Phyllis Dietrichson: "I think you're rotten." Walter Neff: "I think you're swell -- so long as I'm not your husband." Phyllis Dietrichson: "Get out of here." Walter Neff: "You bet I'll get out of here, baby. I'll get out of here, but quick."

Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Phyllis Dietrichson: "Nettie, show Mr. Neff into the living room." Walter Neff: "Where would the living room be?" Nettie: "In there, but they keep the liquor locked up." Walter Neff: "That's alright, I always carry my own keys..."

Dec 17, 2012
  • Monolith rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Walter Neff (voiceover): "...Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money -- and a woman. ...And I didn't get the money, and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it?"

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Double Indemnity Trailer

Double Indemnity Trailer

Walter and Phyllis meet

An insurance salesman calls on a customer's wife about a renewal, but she is sizing him up for a project of her own, like getting her husband an accident insurance policy that he never knows about. She plans to collect on that policy soon.

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