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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
James M. Cain based his novella on a 1927 murder perpetrated by a married Queens, New York woman and her lover whose trial he attended whilst working as a journalist in New York. In that crime, Ruth Snyder persuaded her boyfriend, Judd Gray, to kill her husband Albert after having him take out a big insurance policy - with a double-indemnity clause. The murderers were quickly identified, arrested and convicted. The front page photo of Snyder's execution in the electric chair at Sing Sing has been called the most famous news photo of the 1920s. See more »
When Dietrichson's body is discovered on the tracks, and presumed to be the victim of an accident, his body would have been taken to the medical examiner's office for identification and autopsy. It might be thought how this would quickly reveal that he had been strangled, and had not fallen from the train due to the absence of bruises on the body - except Neff did not strangle Dietrichson in the car (he snapped the man's neck); and bruises on the body are possible but not guaranteed with such a small fall at low speed with the prime impact taken by the back of the man's neck. See more »
Well, hello there, Mr. Neff.
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Opening credits are shown over a silhouette of a man on crutches, walking toward the camera. See more »
I've now seen this movie 14 times in 25 years, at all times of the year, in all moods, sober or not etc - but always at night. I recorded my copy off TV in 1987 so I can only imagine what a remaster would do for it. With an atmosphere thick enough to cut with a knife it never fails to engross and enchant me, and although it's been dated for 40 years or more still seems relevant and watchable today. TV, answer phones, recordable CD/DVD, memory sticks and the internet have all come between us and yet I can still watch Fred MacMurray speaking into a Dictaphone without a qualm. Who wears a hat in California nowadays? Who buys beer whilst driving! Lift attendants have gone but I can still believe in Charlie working and laughing away in the garage past 11 at night.
Woman and man agree to murder woman's husband but on the way to the cemetery they face grilling by insurance company. I think everything has been said before on the IMDb - by those who think it's one of the best films ever made! To those who simply think the main problem is that it's dated I wish you could see the TV commercials that dug into DI back in '87 - what a hoot - and compare. I've just noticed the print TCM UK is showing in 2005 is lip-synced out, very wobbly Rosza music track, fading and ageing fast - worse than my 1987 video tape (maybe logically). They're supposed to be encouraging people to enjoy the classics but they won't do that with such inferior screening copies. Dear TCM UK, this is an impressive iconic film - it deserves a billion dollar remaster authorised by the Library of Congress, not repeatedly trotting out unimpressive cheap worn dupes to fill those 2 hour slots.
Everything about DI from the acting, production, direction, and music is superbly dignified and is as "close to perfection" as human beings are probably allowed to get with this form of Art - especially with the more limited technology at their disposal in '44. When most films from now are long forgotten and dated DI will still be getting re-runs on TV and art-house cinemas - God and remasters willing - that is the fact of it.
Fortunia Bonanova certainly was fortunate to have appeared in bit parts in 2 of the best films ever made - Citizen Kane the other.
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