Thursday, February 18, 2010

review: Double Idemnity

This is about as classic film noir as you can get. So classic that is has almost become the essence of the cliche. But, still incredibly delightful. This movie is a lot of interesting. Take the stars: Stanwyck and MacMurray - both of whom were mostly known at the time for their comedies. Then there was Robinson - first and foremost a leading male in gangster films - most of the time as the bad guy. AND - it was directed by Billy Wilder - and all I know of his work is his terrific screwball comedies. So yeah, this was completely different.
The story is based on a true life crime involving an insurance man, a gorgeous woman and the planned death of her husband. The title refers to a insurance term in which the reciepiant recieves 2x the amount of a settlement after an accident or death.
The movie is not only praised for the content and the acting, but also for the great photography. There are many moments of just beautiful camera work. Especially the tight frame on Stanwyck's face as her husband is killed. That moment is a perfect marriage of a shot and a darn fine actress. It's wonderful.
This is one of those films that you just need to see at least once in your life. This is one of the best fim noirs and almost a guidebook on how to do it right.
3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

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