Eddie Muller once said Double Indemnity is the essential Film Noir. While one could say there are better or more thematically interesting Film Noirs, none better encapsulate the expressionistic and cynical sphere of the movement as Billy Wilder’s 1944 masterpiece. It was one of the first to truly define the style with its dark shadows, tantalizing crime plot, and brazenly sexual dialogue cleverly coded in discrete innuendo. Wilder’s wit is on full display in this sumptuous collaboration with novelist Raymond Chandler, wringing the words for all their implicit value and working around the stringent restrictions of Hollywood’s censorship board at the time, resulting in the salacious satisfaction of duplicitous dialogue which lends the film its signature eroticism. Matching that is the luminous performance of Barbara Stanwyck, presenting an electrifying chemistry with Fred MacMurray, enough to convince anybody that murder is a fair exchange for the affection of an alluring dame. It doesn’t get more enticing than this, from the bold and immersive cinematography to the unparalleled dialogue and story structure, Double Indemnity is a cornerstone classic that maintains its shimmer no matter how many times you look upon its transfixing gaze.
0:00: Christmas in November: Happiest Season, Fatman, Jingle Jangle
22:04: Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers
27:20: Double Indemnity