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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 April 2006
Along with Tourneur's OUT OF THE PAST (1947), Billy Wilder's DOUBLE INDEMNITY is the definitive film noir, a masterpiece that rewards countless viewings and proved hugely influential. Virtually remade as BODY HEAT in 1981, and the inspiration for any number of sweaty, neo-noir pale imitations, this brilliant film remains the real deal and unsurpassed.
Wilder's fractious collaboration with the great Raymond Chandler produced a wonderful screenplay, dripping with sharp dialogue and fatalistic symbolism, whilst the performances of the three leads - FRED MacMURRAY, BARBARA STANWYCK and EDWARD G ROBINSON - are faultless and represent their finest screenwork. Stanwyck's marvellously cold, cyncial and manipulative femme fatale remains the template for all that followed and her tart as a lemon dialogue exchanges with MacMurray's bluff, self-confident Insurance Claims Investigator are amongst the greatest in any film.
To add to these elements JOHN F. SEITZ, one of film noir's finest cameramen, creates visual poetry from the sunlight streaming through Californian windows and shadows of forboding during the beautifully staged murder sequence.
Come to think of it, this isn't just one of the greatest film noirs ever made, it's simply one of the greatest films ever made, period. If you haven't seen it, buy it now, if you had it on VHS from a long ago TV screening, still buy it as this print is excellent and probably the best available, although there's a disappointing lack of extras on the DVD.
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on 21 August 2005
I`ve been waiting for this classic to be released ever since i bought a dvd player! Billy wilder has to be one of cinema`s finest director`s ever,it`s hard to pick his best work what with sunset boulevard,some like it hot & ace in the hole (hopefully the next in line for a dvd release) among others but if someone put a gun to my head i`d have to say double indemnity.Being a big fan of old movies & in particular film noir this one is simply perfect,great script(co-scripted by Raymond chandler himself),superb acting from the three leads & great cinematography.If your into old movies & film noir trust me you need to see this,even if there are no extras.
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on 17 July 2015
Little needs to be said about Double Indemnity. It's a terrific film with, for my money, a stunning performance from Barbara Stanwyck.

If, like me, you're more interested in these reviews for what they have to say about the package, here's a few thoughts. You get a decent documentary (around 30 minutes), a trailer, the radio adaptation, a booklet, and an audio commentary. Personally I was hugely frustrated with the commentary. Whilst the two speakers are doubtless very knowledgable, they make what I consider to be the cardinal sin of doing an audio commentary and don't actually provide commentary on the scenes as they unfold, preferring instead to give general thoughts about film noir and the film in its historic context. So many iconic, wonderful moments go by with the speakers wittering on about something tangential. That's not to say that what they're saying isn't interesting, it's just that it has no place in an audio commentary, in my view. A pet peeve of mine, and others may feel differently, but for me I wanted to hear them discuss the key moments at least, and the story much more. As it is I'm sorry to say much of the running time is spent with Lem Dobbs reminiscing about the time he spent with Wilder. Sorry Mr Dobbs, but who the heck cares?
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on 13 July 2005
At last , Billy Wilder's work is coming to region 2. This 1944 film noir sees Fred MacMurray playing insurance agent Walter Neff , who becomes involved with black widow - Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck). Cue: double crossing, hard boiled dialogue , much match striking by human thumb and a scene stealing performance by Edward G Robinson as Barton T Keyes. This film just sizzles along and is not to be missed. Double Indemnity was oscar nominated for best picture and director. Unfortunately it lost out , however , Wilder would return the next year with The Lost Weekend which took best picture , director and actor (Ray Milland). When Billy Wilder died in 2002 the world lost a brillaint film director - thank fully his legacy lives on.
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on 9 July 2014
Eureka’s Blu-Ray of the best noir movie ever made, comes in a generous package with copious extras. However, contrary to other reviews, the quality of the print is way lacking in what I had hoped for, and most certainly not reference standard. Overall the quality varies alarmingly, bouncing from near perfect with good gradation and strong blacks, to some scenes severly inclined to muddy greys and very poor definition. This looks like a straight hi-def transfer from a well traveled print with little or no restoration to speak of. Universal’s standard DVD is still the best print out there, and infinately better to watch than this disappointing Blu-Ray. The story however, eclipses all technical woes and is as good today as its always been. Five stars for the story, only three for the Blu-Ray I'm afraid. Stick with the DVD until something better arrives.
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on 22 January 2016
great story telling of an age old theme and acceptable acting. Fred, on the face of it, is miscast - he's neither noir nor tough guy. Perhaps because of his very ordinariness, the role works out as the straight guy seduced. The same goes for Stanwyck, who is not the most obvious femme fatale, but she could act. As a result, whether by design or accident, the film conveys the reality of relatively ordinary mortals' infatuations and desires and the lengths they will go to satisfy them. You can read the same stories in certain newspapers on a regular basis.
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on 25 April 2015
1940s CLASS ACT. A movie that springs from the classic period that gave us such dramatic gems as Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Third Man etc. Movies which will live forever for they cannot be bettered. They stand together in a class head and shoulders above any 'modern' drama. This exceptional drama of the 'perfect murder' gone wrong (don't they always!) is mesmerising throughout. It SHOULD have got 1944s best movie Oscar, instead of the Bing Crosby movie.

If you cannot see yourself being enthralled by an old b & w movie GIVE IT A CHANCE - its a rewarding experience.
COLUMBO would have loved to tackle this case. It's a shame he did not get the chance. UNMISSABLE!

SUPERBLY presented on this Universal DVD, THANKFULLY retaining its original film format and NOT thoughtlessly cropped by 25% just to accommodate a 16:9 TV. It's a shame more 4:3 movies are not treated with the same respect.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 23 January 2015
Double Indemnity is a dark film that grips the viewer like ebony around a screw. Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck make a fantastic noir duo, and the lines, particularly Stanwyck's, are delivered with a cool swagger and devastating sense of style. One of the things that makes it fascinating is the way you sense her to be something other than the role, yet by sheer skill she makes it fit like a kid glove. MacMurray is the perfect foil, being also distanced by the fact of narrating the film from a point where circumstances have obviously changed from what we see, and we know that he gets neither the money nor the girl more or less from the start. This doesn't make the distance covered any less absorbing in this tale of murder for the double insurance claim of the title. Billy Wilder's touch is evident in the intelligence of tone, also no doubt present because of Raymond Chandler whose reputation in this material is unparalleled (taken from a novella by James M. Cain), but it is probably Wilder who gives it a world-weariness that somehow cuts deeper than genre. He convinces you of the value of cinema as the ideal medium in which to reflect on the darker side of life with enough irony to leaven the effect. It is a beguiling picture of seamy morals and stooping low out of passion. Edward G. Robinson is also memorable, down-to-earth, and anchors the film, like a souped up mini gaining ground on a smooth-running Pontiac that simply can't get up the speed. His rumbling the truth in all but one vital detail is a bit like the later Stanwyck/MacMurray film, There's Always Tomorrow (made in 1956, 12 years after this one), where MacMurray's son stalks them with an equally partial view, to the point where he catches up with them ... But you also remember Stanwyck's hair with its rolled fringe both implausible and unnatural, glistening almost blondly in the evocative shadows and dim fabrics. For me she and MacMurray make a more appealing couple than the legendary Bogart/Bacall pairing, and the film is less labyrinthine, and closer to passion itself, than, say, The Big Sleep.
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on 23 October 2015
Interesting story. Guy falls for wrong woman, commits a crime for her and then realises that he's been used by her to get rid of the husband and live with other guy she loves. It sound like a cliche today, but it is one of the first movies with woman as evil hero. To me the plot is really interesting. However I have a problem with this movie, because in my opinion there is no connection between them and it is hard for me to believe, that he falls in love so madly, that was ready not only to falsify indemnity, but commit a murder for her. Maybe the film has got old, or maybe it is just me getting old. See it Yourself. Old classic definitely worth to watch once.
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on 29 July 2012
Firstly I would like to make clear that my one star rating is not for the film itself as it is an excellent movie, I am rating it 1 star for the so called high definition restoration that universal have done. I already own this film on standard DVD which I bought around 10 years ago. I was so exited when I came across this Blu-ray edition and was looking forward to viewing this restored edition, after watching the film I could not believe it was being advertised as a restored edition. I decided to set two TV's up side by side and played both my copies of the film together standard DVD against Blu-ray restored edition. There was absolutely no difference in picture quality, only a very slight improvement in sound quality on the Blu-ray disc. You do get a nice booklet with the Steel book edition the extras are nothing special. Bottom line is if you already own the DVD do not waste your money, if you don't own it and you want the booklet and think that is worth the price difference then that would be the only reason for buying this edition. Save your money.
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