Monday, January 18, 2010

Double Indemnity (1944)

For many the quintessential film noir, DOUBLE INDEMNITY is an American movie classic, with crackling dialogue throughout. [Director Billy] Wilder and Raymond Chandler's script (from the James M. Cain novel) pack fireworks into the account of insurance salesman [Fred] MacMurray lured into a murder plot by [Barbara] Stanwyck's alluring housewife.

Maltin's picked another winner. This is one of the few times early in his career that MacMurray played a villain. You also have Edward G. Robinson playing against type as the tireless insurance investigator who eventually unravels the plot. The scene where MacMurray first meets Stanwyck could be used as a master class for both directors (the shot of Stanwyck entering the room) and writers (the dialog about speeding tickets). This one is not to be missed.

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