Double Indemnity is the dazzling, quintessential film noir whose enormous popular success and seven Oscar nominations catapulted Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment) into the very top tier of Hollywood's writer-directors. Adapted from a novella by James M. Cain (The Postman Always Rings Twice), co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye), Double Indemnity remains the hardest-boiled of delectations.
Insurance hawker Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) gets seduced by some other man's wife: a bored, sex-starved Barbara Stanwyck done up in lorry-grille wig and a pair of lips like wine grapes smashed in candle-wax. She wants to off her better half and collect on his policy, but spitfire claims-adjuster Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) smells a rat - or at least the cheap perfume all over that Dietrichson file. Neff himself ties up the twisting plot in a neat bow: "We were talking about automobile insurance, only you were thinking about murder. And I was thinking about that anklet.