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Paul Jensen

DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) 5 stars

Greed and lust motivate everything - definitive film noir. It's remarkable how nasty this film is for 1944. It essentially wrote the textbook on film noir and the femme fatale was epitomized (the blond wig is as phony as she is.) Prior to this film we may have already had gangster films but Wilder's first masterpiece brought the filth to the everyman - an insurance salesman. We side with the criminals, which was groundbreaking for the 40s (after the murder, we even gasp when the car won't start - a first in cinema.) The film also captures LA in the 40s perfectly. Beneath the facade lurked something sinister and dark. It's a sexy and dirty film. Ugly characters doing shitty things. But at the heart of the story is the solid and emotionally moving friendship between MacMurray and Robinson. Much like the ending of Casablanca, Double Indemnity brings two souls together. However, in this case, it fittingly ends tragic.


Genre: Film Noir
Director: Billy Wider