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March 01, 2009

DOUBLE INDEMNITY — CLASSIC FILM PICK

Double_indemnityBilly Wilder's influential film noir "Double Indemnity" stars Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff, a Los Angeles insurance salesman convinced by Barbara Stanwyck's sultry Phyllis into murdering her husband in order to collect double the amount of her insurance policy. Walter should know better than play with fire, considering the canniness of his by-the-book claims adjuster associate Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson).

"Double Indemnity" remains one of the best-loved film noir movies for good reason. Barbara Stanwyck rules the roost as one of cinema's most diabolically cunning yet alluring femme fatales.

Cinematographer John F. Seitz ("Sullivan's Travels" - 1941) contributes notably to the film's claustrophobic black-and-white atmosphere with ingenious Dutch camera angles. Seitz’s astute use of exactly lit compositions create a fascinating image system of shadows and faces. "Double Indemnity" received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture.

Double Indemnity

Not Rated. 107 mins. (A+) (Five stars — out of five / no halves)

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