Film Noir 2020

Fred MacMurray, as gravely wounded insurance salesman Walter Neff, staggers into a dark office, picks up a Dictaphone, and offers up a startling confession of murder. So begins Billy Wilder’s sordid, superlative Double Indemnity, one of film noir’s defining works. Barbara Stanwyck sizzles as Phyllis Dietrichson, the double-crossing dame who seduces Neff into a plot to bump off her husband and collect big on his life-insurance policy. Edward G. Robinson co-stars as insurance investigator Keyes, Neff’s friend and colleague. Co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, from James M. Cain’s novella, “this shrewd, tawdry thriller is one of the high points of 1940s films … Stanwyck’s Phyllis Dietrichson is perhaps the best acted and most fixating of all the slutty, cold-blooded femmes fatales of film noir” (Pauline Kael).

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