Nobody knew they were making films noir when the genre started in the 40s — it wasn’t until much later when the French dubbed this new run of American films that had a darker bent with snappy dialogue, lots of shadows and femme fatales film noir. Billy Wilder was setting out to make a crime thriller; he didn’t realize at the time that his film “Double Indemnity” would be considered the first real film noir. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we begin our Film Noir series with Wilder’s brilliant film from 1944. We talk about the genre and what it means to be called a ‘film noir,’ particularly in relationship to the Hays Code. We chat about the brilliant trio of actors who bring this film to life — Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson. We look at the brilliant directing by Wilder and his co-writing with none other than Raymond Chandler. We investigate the dark and shadowy lighting by cinematographer John F. Seitz as well as the moody, driving score by Miklos Rozsa. And we touch on the real life crime that inspired James M. Cain to write the novella upon which this was based. It’s one of our favorite films and certainly the perfect way to kick off this series. Tune in!
- Script Transcript
- Original theatrical trailer
- Original poster artwork
- Double Indemnity — James M. Cain
- Ruth Snyder, the Murderous Inspiration
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