“Paramount’s shocking, suspense-filled masterpiece of love…and murder.”
While I have been a film noir lover for years now, somehow, I had never sat down and watched Double Indemnity. Of course, after finally renting it, I saw how spectacular of a film I had been missing all these years.
Visually, Double Indemnity is amazing, it is absolutely the king of film noir classics. The use of the venetian blinds to continually cast their shadows upon each scene as well as the femme fatale using the protagonist insurance salesman to do her will is all signature noir style.
The story itself that was the basis for the picture is a 1927 crime committed by a married Queens women and her lover. The scandal was turned into fiction by author, James Cain. Later, Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder co-adapted the tale into the screenplay. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, but didn’t take home any statues.
Fred MacMurray, who portrays the insurance salesman, Walter Neff is first-rate in the role. He is likable, and makes you feel sorry for him even after he has committed murder and is deserving of whatever the fates throw at him. His narration throughout the film is fantastic, I enjoyed it just as much as his moments with the conniving wife and his boss, Keyes.
Barton Keyes, Neff’s insurance investigator supervisor was played by the excellent Edward Robinson. Robinson was well known for his spectacular performance as the title role of the ambitious criminal Rico in the movie, Little Caesar in 1931. He does an amazing job as the determined Keyes in Double Indemnity whose gut instincts seem to never fail to lead him to the truth.
Our femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson performed by Barbara Stanwyck puts on a stunning portrayal. She is alluring and convincing in the role as the motivated wife. It isn’t difficult to see why she is nominated for her third Academy Award for Best Actress in the picture, as she more than deserved the honor.
All in all, I would recommend the movie highly to anyone who is wanting to see some of the best Hollywood has had to offer through the years. Double Indemnity is easily one of the best films ever made, without hesitation, without a doubt one that should be a part of any movie buff’s collection.