January 20th, 2012: Double Indemnity (1944)

Cast and Crew: Billy Wilder (Director); Raymond  Chandler (Screenplay, with Billy Wilder); James M. Cain (Novel); Edith Head (Costumes);  Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall

What It’s About:  When insurance Agent Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) meets Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) on a routine sales call sparks fly.  Soon Neff  is helping Phyllis plan her husband’s murder.

Why Watch it Today?:  Barbara Stanwyck, one of classic Hollywood’s most versatile actresses, died today in 1990.  Last year we highlighted Stanwyck’s powerhouse turn as a neurotic, helpless invalid in Sorry, Wrong Number; contrast with her performance here as a powerful woman who easily manipulates a sap into doing her dirty work.

Where to Get It: Watch it at Netflix, rent it at  Amazon and iTunes or borrow it at your local library.

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