Monday, August 27, 2012

Capsule Review: Double Indemnity (1944)

One of the earliest - and finest - film noirs, Billy Wilder's shadowy tale of murder and betrayal was co-written by Raymond Chandler, whose hard-boiled prose is evident in Fred MacMurray's narration. MacMurray - as the impossibly confident Walter Neff - is a revelation in the lead; a complete heel, but an attractive one, who somehow makes being an insurance salesman seem like the most glamorous (and sexy) occupation in the world. His life begins to collapse after he randomly meets Phyllis Dietrichson and - remarkably quickly - is convinced to plan the seemingly perfect murder of her husband. The excellent Edward G. Robinson plays Neff's friend and co-worker Barton Keyes, who starts to take apart the story piece by piece, until the only question becomes who will turn on who. Beautifully written, the film was a massive critical and commercial success upon release, and helped popularize the genre which would flourish over the following decade.

1 comment:

Nick said...


Nick from here. Doing some scout work for the LAMB. We're wanting to make an email newsletter for community features as well as a list we're making similar to Sight & Sound's best movies of all time list. Just need an email! Email me at npowe131 at