|Fig 1 - Double Indemnity Poster|
The film was nominated for seven Oscars (Best Picture, Actress, Director, Writing, Cinematography, Sound and Music) but ultimately left the 17th Academy Awards empty-handed.
I was pleasantly surprised by the film since I tend to have some inherent problem with the 'noir' genre. Even more-so, I was surprised that Alfred Hitchcock hadn't snatched up the screenplay since it fits with the timeline of his career and felt completely accustomed to his taste - a midway murder plot, a fiendish femme-fatale and so on. But incidentally, Wilder manages to reconstruct the original novel into an incredibly watchable picture which, on paper, didn't have me intrigued at all. In fact, the synopsis had me quite ready to dislike the film and I'm happy to say it won me over almost instantly. I think it does this by not getting bogged-down in the technicalities of legal clauses or establishing Neff interacting with unnecessary clients, but by simply following the matter at hand. The structure reminded me of Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954), in which the three acts coincide very similarly by first establishing the plan, then enacting the plan, and finally dealing with it's consequences. It's a tried and tested formula for sure, but it only works with a great tension at it's core - and boy, is that what you get.
|Fig 2 - Double Indemnity - Phyllis, Neff and Keyes|
Overall, I thought Double Indemnity was pretty good for a noir. It manages not to exploit it's use of narration as a shorthand for needless exposition, but uses it in a way that works alongside the visuals. Though it doesn't do anything overtly experimental, the film is captivating in it's own right and allows the telling of a simple story to run it's course effortlessly in a way that many noirs fail to do.
Fig. 1 Double Indemnity Poster (1944) From: Double Indemnity (1944) - Directed by: Billy Wilder
Fig. 2 Double Indemnity Screenshot (1944) From: Double Indemnity (1944) - Directed by: Billy Wilder