Double Indemnity (1944)
Responsible for popularizing the ‘venetian blinds’ lighting effect that continues to be imitated in film (and even video games) to this day, the oft-plagiarized ‘first-person voiceover narration’ as a storytelling device, and codifying the style for what came to be ‘film noir banter’… Double Indemnity is perhaps the single most important and influential example of its genre. Co-written by Raymond Chandler, arguably the foremost author in the ‘pulps’, and the film’s director Billy Wilder, (in what was to be Chandler’s one and only screenwriting collaboration) I never cease to be blown away by how seamless and tightly-wound the plot is.
Not one wasted scene. If I watch even one moment, I find myself riveted, and have to watch it to its grisly, downbeat conclusion.
With scalding dialogue that eclipses even The Big Sleep, and visuals that established the iconography for noir of the next two decades and even beyond… Double Indemnity is an absolute must-watch. Even for those who lack my appreciation for genre.