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. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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, The Lost Weekend (1945). See more »
Although set in 1938, Walter Neff makes reference to the "The Philadelphia Story", which did not debut on Broadway until 1939, and on film until 1940. See more »
Well, hello there, Mr. Neff.
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A film noir masterpiece that received no less than seven Oscar nominations
There were some superb thrillers coming out of Hollywood in the forties which did not rely on the private eye conventions but somehow the best of them were spread throughout by the same cynicism, the same realism, the same ruthless suspense
Best of all was Wilder's "Double Identity." It was based on a real-life assassination in New York in 1927, when a wife and her lover killed the husband for his insurance money
In the film, a near-breaking-point tension was reached and sustained in the passion of an insurance salesman and a passionately sensual femme fatale an intense desire for each other and for money; in the murder of the poor husband; and in their useless attempts to escape the ability of a fast-talking investigator
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