In 1938, Walter Neff, an experienced salesman of the Pacific All Risk Insurance Co., meets the seductive wife of one of his clients, Phyllis Dietrichson, and they have an affair. Phyllis proposes to kill her husband to receive the proceeds of an accident insurance policy and Walter devises a scheme to receive twice the amount based on a double indemnity clause. When Mr. Dietrichson is found dead on a train track, the police accept the determination of accidental death. However, the insurance analyst and Walter's best friend Barton Keyes does not buy the story and suspects that Phyllis has murdered her husband with the help of another man.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For Neff's office at Pacific All Risk, Billy Wilder and set designer Hal Pereira conspired to create a little in-house joke, typical of Wilder. In the opening scenes, as Walter Neff stumbles off the elevator on his way to his office to record his confession, the vast two-tiered office is empty and dark. With the camera following him, Neff lurches towards the balcony railing overlooking rows and rows of uniform corporate desks. Neff turns left, but the camera continues forward until it reaches the brink and stares down for an anxious moment into a colorless American business purgatory. Here, Pereira is said to have copied an existing office: the corporate headquarters of Paramount Pictures in New York City. See more »
After Neff meets with the President of his company, he returns to his apartment and places a folder on the chair to the right of the door. When Keyes comes to the door, after Neff's brief phone conversation, the folder is nowhere to be seen. See more »
Well, hello there, Mr. Neff.
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Opening credits are shown over a silhouette of a man on crutches, walking toward the camera. See more »
A film noir masterpiece that received no less than seven Oscar nominations
There were some superb thrillers coming out of Hollywood in the forties which did not rely on the private eye conventions but somehow the best of them were spread throughout by the same cynicism, the same realism, the same ruthless suspense
Best of all was Wilder's "Double Identity." It was based on a real-life assassination in New York in 1927, when a wife and her lover killed the husband for his insurance money
In the film, a near-breaking-point tension was reached and sustained in the passion of an insurance salesman and a passionately sensual femme fatale an intense desire for each other and for money; in the murder of the poor husband; and in their useless attempts to escape the ability of a fast-talking investigator
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