From the moment they met, it was murder. Unsuspecting Mr. Dietrichson becomes increasingly accident prone after his icily calculating wife encourages him to sign a double-indemnity policy proposed by a smooth talking insurance agent. Against a backdrop of distinctly Californian settings, the partners-in-crime plan the perfect murder to collect on the insurance. Perfect until a claims manager gets a familiar feeling of foul play and pursues the matter relentlessly. Tension soars as the would-be lovers find themselves plotting against each other.
Shadows of Suspense; Introduction by TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne; Audio Commentary with Film Historian Richard Schickel; Audio Commentary with Film Historian / Screenwriter Lem Dobbs and Film Historian Nick Redman; Double Indemnity (1973) TV Movie
Director Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard
) and writer Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep
) adapted James M. Cain's hard-boiled novel into this wildly thrilling story of insurance man Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), who schemes the perfect murder with the beautiful dame Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck): kill Dietrichson's husband and make off with the insurance money. But, of course, in these plots things never quite go as planned, and Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) is the wily insurance investigator who must sort things out. From the opening scene you know Neff is doomed, as the story is told in flashback; yet, to the film's credit, this doesn't diminish any of the tension of the movie. This early film noir flick is wonderfully campy by today's standards, and the dialogue is snappy ("I thought you were smarter than the rest, Walter. But I was wrong. You're not smarter, just a little taller"), filled with lots of "dame"s and "baby"s. Stanwyck is the ultimate femme fatale, and MacMurray, despite a career largely defined by roles as a softy (notably in the TV series My Three Sons
and the movie The Shaggy Dog
), is convincingly cast against type as the hapless, love-struck sap. --Jenny Brown
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.