Double Indemnity
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Double Indemnity (BFI Modern Classics / BFI Film Classics)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  43 ratings  ·  4 reviews
This book discusses Double Indemnity and its status as a key film in the definition of film noir.
Paperback, 72 pages
Published October 27th 1992 by British Film Institute
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Richard Hughes
The conventional wisdom is that James M. Cain’s ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ is his greatest novel (pub. 1934) but ‘Double Indemnity’ is the classic movie adaption of his work (rel. 1949).

This is probably true, as far as it goes, but the assessment is repeated so often that it risks overlooking ‘Mildred Pierce’ and completely underestimating both the (minor) classic qualities of ‘The Postman’ on film (rel. 1946) and, more importantly, ‘Double Indemnity’ in print (pub. 1936). This book on Bil...more
This analysis is strongest on the literary roots of film noir and the creation of the Double Indemnity screenplay by writer-director Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler, based on the novel by James M. Cain.

The film, an undeniable classic, feels good, rather than truly great. Almost every noir motif this film consolidated is realized with more dynamism, gusto and perversity in a later film noir. A Hollywood studio decorousness and classical harmoniousness overlays this story of lust, greed, murder...more
It's hard to review a book that's just one big review itself. The BFI books can be a fun examination of one film or a dry academic rambling that sucks the fun of the movie. This one was good but Schickel focuses more the history of the movie than the movie itself. That's interesting but since it's only 68 pages, he could've dug a little deeper. If you like the movie, you like this book. Enough said.
a straightforward exposition of the film, and its production, in standard slipshod magazine boilerplate prose.
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