Double Indemnity (1944)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 47 mins

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In 1938, Walter Neff, an experienced salesman of the Pacific All Risk Insurance Co., meets the seductive wife of one of his clients, Phyllis Dietrichson, and they have an affair. Phyllis proposes to kill her husband to receive the proceeds of an accident insurance policy and Walter devises a scheme to receive twice the amount based on a double indemnity clause. When Mr. Dietrichson is found dead on a train-track, the police accept the determination of accidental death. However, the insurance analyst and Walter's best friend Barton Keyes does not buy the story and suspects that Phyllis has murdered her husband with the help of another man. How will Walter react as Barton Keyes gets closer and closer to the truth? Will Phyllis remain true to Walter or continue her attempts to manipulate and destroy everyone who becomes an obstacle on her path to riches?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray

Crew: Billy Wilder (Director), John Francis Seitz (Director of Photography), Miklos Rozsa (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Release Dates: 24 Apr 1944 (India)

Tagline: You Can't Kiss Away A Murder!

Movie Rating
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Music Rating
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Did you know? "The Screen Guild Theater" had broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 16, 1950 with Barbara Stanwyck again reprising her film role. Read More
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as Phyllis Dietrichson
as Walter Neff
as Nino Zachetti
as Mr Jackson
as Barton Keyes
as Lola Dietrichson
as Joe Peters
as Sam Garlopis
Supporting Actor
as Mr Dietrichson

Direction

Director

Production

Production Company

Distribution

Distributor

Writers

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director

Art

Art Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer

Editorial

Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1, 1.37:1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
You Can't Kiss Away A Murder!
From the Moment they met it was Murder!
It's Love And Murder At First Sight !
Paramount's terrific story of an unholy love, and an almost perfect crime!
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
When Phyllis prepares to meet Neff for the last time, the effect of "moonlight" through the blinds appears in the room just before she turns out the lamps.

Revealing Mistakes
In the first scene in which Walter first kisses Phyllis, we see a wedding ring on Walter's hand. Fred MacMurray was married and the ring was not noticed until post-production.

Miscellaneous
When Keyes approaches to speak to Neff as Neff enters work one morning, Neff asks Keyes if it has to do with the "Peterson" case. The name of the character in question is "Dietrichson," not "Peterson". However this could be seen as Neff's try to show no interest to the case.

Factual Mistake
The door to Neff's apartment opens away from, rather than toward, the apartment which was a violation of the Los Angeles Fire Code.

Continuity
After Neff meets with the President of his company, he returns to his apartment and places a folder on the chair to the right of the door. When Keyes comes to the door, after Neff's brief phone conversation, the folder is nowhere to be seen.

Continuity
Early in the film, as Phyllis finds Walter's address in the phone book and goes to his apartment, Neff turns on a three-way lamp by the door using a switch on the wall. Later in the film, the lamp is gone.

Continuity
Walter Neff is unmarried, yet he wears a wedding ring throughout the movie.
Trivia:
In 1998, the movie was ranked #38 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best American films of all time, and in 2007 it placed 29th on their 10th Anniversary list.

A different ending was shot, with Neff being caught by the police and executed while Keyes looks on in despair. Billy Wilder decided it would be poignant and fitting for both characters if instead Neff were to die in his office with Keyes by his side as he expressed his regret.

The part of Walter Neff was originally offered to George Raft who had insisted that he would only take on the role if his character turned out to be an FBI agent at the end, entrapping Barbara Stanwyck's character.

The film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards but had lost out on the night to 'Going My Way'.

Fred MacMurray's reputation at the time was for playing nice guys so he didn't feel he was up to the challenge. Dogged persistence on Billy Wilder's part eventually wore him down.

As well as George Raft, Brian Donlevy and Alan Ladd, other actors to pass on playing Walter Neff included James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck and Fredric March.

James M. Cain was thrilled with this adaptation of his novella and saw it repeatedly.

Raymond Chandler's cameo at 16:12 in the film is the only known film footage that exists of the writer.

Billy Wilder's usual collaborator Charles Brackett didn't want to work on the screenplay as he was uncomfortable with the material.

Co-written with Raymond Chandler. Billy Wilder didn't really get on with the famous novelist whose constant drinking irritated the director. Wilder effectively exorcised his demons about dealing with alcoholics with his next film, T'he Lost Weekend'.

"The Screen Guild Theater" had broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 16, 1950 with Barbara Stanwyck again reprising her film role.

"Lux Radio Theater" had broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 30, 1950 with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray reprising their film roles.

Billy Wilder had a tough time getting a leading man for this film; many actors, including George Raft turned the project down and he had to persuade Fred MacMurray to accept the part.

Dick Powell wanted the role of Walter Neff, but as he was under a contract to another studio and they wouldn't allow it, he tore up his contract and the role went to Fred MacMurray.

Alan Ladd, George Raft, and Brian Donlevy were all up for the leading role of Walter Neff but evidently turned down the role.

Raymond Chandler hated the experience of writing the script with Billy Wilder so much that he actually walked out and would not return unless a list of demands was met.

The movie was based on the novel written by James M. Cain, which in turn was based on the true story of Ruth Snyder, the subject of a notorious 1920's murder trial.

Author James M. Cain later admitted that if he had come up with some of the solutions to the plot that screenwriters Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler did, he would have employed them in his original novel.

The scene where Neff and Dietrichson can't get their car started after the murder was added by Wilder after his car wouldn't start at the end of a shooting day.