Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)
Double Indemnity brings together multiple talents that combined to produce one of the most powerful films noirs. Starting with the pulp novel by James M. Cain, Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler collaborated on the screenplay, and Wilder directed. Blond temptress Barbara Stanwyck, second wife of a successful, older businessman, convinces Fred MacMurray to concoct an insurance scam to pay double indemnity on the “accidental” death of her husband. However, MacMurray’s boss, Edward G. Robinson, senses a crime brilliant and most foul. Film noir is often associated with paranoia, and this film provides a clinical demonstration of the disorder: exaggerated male virility to ward off fears of homosexuality, the charade exposed by the threat of female desire. In this sense, the film can be seen and appreciated as the Ur-text of film noir. Selected as one of the “100 Best American Films of the 20th Century” by the American Film Institute.
Doors open at 6 PM. Refreshments provided. There is a $2 suggested donation.