If you are a fan of this film and of film noir, in general, this discussion about this movie and this genre should really interest you. Not only do a half dozen people discuss the ins-and- outs of the famous "Double Indemnity," but of film noir, and it's rise in Hollywood beginning with this movie.
A lot of the material in this DVD bonus feature mentions director Billy Wilder and his struggles to get this film done, and done right. His battles with famous novelist Raymond Chandler, who was hired to do the screenplay because the "novella" by James Cain wouldn't have cut it, are discussed with all the juicy details of a tabloid account here. Suffice to say, Wilder and Chandler were not the best of friends and they had to spend four months putting this script together to get one that pleased both. Getting actors to play the main roles in "Double Indemnity" wasn't easy, either, as nobody wanted to take a chance in 1944 with the lead characters of "Phyllis Dietrichson" or "Walter Neff." The experts in here discuss why Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray were such good fits for this movie. Stanwyck was Wilder's first choice for the female lead but McMurray was way down the list for the males.
They also remark how incredible Edward G. Robinson was in the long-winded scenes he did in which he never missed a line. He amazed everyone who watched him on the set. So did the cinematographer, John Seitz, who also is cited here for his great work on this film. His use of shadows and light and of textures of light were often copied after this film was released.
Not only is "Double Indemnity" considered one of the great American movie of all time, the film noir historians, critics, professors of film, et al., really enjoy discussing this movie. You can just see it on their faces. I enjoyed hearing Eddie Muller's comments. He has written several top books on noir and has the most "screen time" in this feature.
I could go on and on with all the inside information and comments that are made in this 38- minute feature, but my best suggestion is simply to watch this if you have the 2006-issued double-disc "Double Indemnity" DVD, or if you have the opportunity to rent it.
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