Double Indemnity

Year: 1944
Studio: Paramount
Director: Billy Wilder
Writer: Billy Wilder
Cast: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck
You might only know Billy Wilder from the screwball comedies on which he frequently collaborated with Marilyn Monroe. Sure, he was most famous for films like The Seven Year Itch and Some Like it Hot, but before that he'd forged the genre Hollywood was most in love with throughout the pre-war years, noir.

The genre wasn't new when Double Indemnity appeared in 1944, but it had all the iconic elements in the right place; a beautiful dame with a dark secret (Barbara Stanwyck), an anti-hero everyday Joe dragged into a deadly conspiracy (MacMurray) a style all its own and a sense of foreboding.

The window dressing is dated now, but look beyond it; Wilder's story of an insurance salesman agreeing to murder the cruel husband of a beautiful client is the progenitor of everything from Chinatown to The Last Seduction.

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