What a treat I have scored for you, my fine, finicky filmophiles this evening. Tonight's Saturday Night Cinema gem is the taut Billy Wilder film noir classic, Double Indemnity. Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson pack plenty of heat. Gripping crime game thrilla.
NY Times film review 1944:
By Bosley CrowtherPublished: January 1, 1944
The cooling-system in the Paramount Theatre was supplemented yesterday by a screen attraction designed plainly to freeze the marrow in an audience's bones. Double Indemnity is its title, and the extent of its refrigerating effect depends upon one's personal repercussion to a long dose of calculated suspense. For the sole question in this picture is whether Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray can kill a man with such cool and artistic deception that no one will place the blame on them and then maintain their composure under Edward G. Robinson's studiously searching eye.
Billy Wilder has filmed the James Cain story of the brassy couple who attempt a "perfect crime," in order to collect some insurance, with a realism reminiscent of the bite of past French films. He has detailed the stalking of their victim with the frigid thoroughness of a coroner's report, and he has pictured their psychological crackup as a sadist would pluck out a spider's legs. No objection to the temper of this picture; it is as hard and inflexible as steel.
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (MOVIE)
Directed by Billy Wilder; written by Mr. Wilder and Raymond Chandler, based on the novel by James M. Cain; cinematographer, John Seitz; edited by Doane Harrison; music by Miklos Rozsa and Cesar Franck; art designers, Hans Dreier and Hal Pereira; produced by Joseph Sistrom; released by Paramount Pictures. Black and white. Running time: 106 minutes.
With: Fred MacMurray (Walter Neff), Barbara Stanwyck (Phyllis Dietrichson), Edward G. Robinson (Barton Keyes), Porter Hall (Mr. Jackson), Jean Heather (Lola Dietrichson), Tom Powers (Mr. Dietrichson), Byron Barr (Nino Zachette), Richard Gaines (Mr. Norton), and Fortunio Bonanova (Sam Gorlopis).