Tuesday, 12 May 2015

I've Just Seen: Double Indemnity (1944)

Double Indemnity (1944)


Director: Billy Wilder
Writer: Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler
Notable Actors: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson

This was a rewatch for me. It is still utterly perfect. And really, how could it not be? Stanwyck is one of my favourite actors of all time; Billy Wilder one of my favourite directors of all time; Chandler is one of my favourite writers; and its genre, film noir, is another favourite of mine. This film was basically made for me.

Everything works: the lighting is wonderful (Venetian blinds have never looked so sinister), the story unfolds at a perfect pace, the writing is gorgeous and occasionally sexy (the first exchange between Phyllis and Walter is one such example), and the cast is wonderful. Though many have balked at Stanwyck's wig, it deliberately highlights her insincerity and cheapness, matching her obvious anklet. The connection between murder, commodities and money is symbolised in the supermarket scenes, where Phyllis and Walter discuss bumping off her husband among 10c cans of food.

Films don't get any better than this!


  1. Yes, this one is pretty awesome

  2. Man, but I love this film. There's not a part of it that doesn't work for me. That it features the wonderful Barbara Stanwyck (regardless of that terrible wig) is simply an added bonus.

    This is also one of those rare films where a particular scene is enhanced by compliance to the Hays Code. The scene of the murder is so much more horrible with us seeing only Phyllis rather than the actual act. It's a piece of brilliant direction and acting.

    There's not a frame of this film I'd ever change.

    1. Yes, the murder scene is one of the best. What makes it even more chilling is that Walter doesn't see that look; wonder what he would have thought if he had!