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Double Indemnity (1973)

A scheming wife lures an insurance investigator into helping murder her husband and then declare it an accident. The investigator's boss, not knowing his man is involved in it, suspects murder and sets out to prove it.

Director:

Jack Smight

Writers:

Steven Bochco (teleplay), Billy Wilder | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Richard Crenna ... Walter Neff
Lee J. Cobb ... Barton Keyes
Robert Webber ... Edward Norton
Samantha Eggar ... Phyllis Dietrichson
Arch Johnson ... Mr. Dietrichson
Kathleen Cody ... Lola Dietrichson
John Fiedler ... Mr. Jackson
John Elerick John Elerick ... Donny Franklin
Joan Pringle ... Neff's Secretary
Gene Dynarski ... Sam Bonaventura
Ken Renard ... Porter
Joyce Cunning Joyce Cunning ... Norton's Secretary
Arnold F. Turner Arnold F. Turner ... Redcap (as Arnold Turner)
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Storyline

A scheming wife lures an insurance investigator into helping murder her husband and then declare it an accident. The investigator's boss, not knowing he's involved in it, suspects murder and sets out to solve it. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"A murder's never perfect. It always comes apart sooner or later. And when two people are involved it's usually sooner..."


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Double Indemnity See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is included in the Canadian DVD version of the original 1944 film, Double Indemnity. See more »

Connections

Version of Body Heat (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

A 1970s TV remake of a 1940s classic: write your own review
7 December 2006 | by J. SpurlinSee all my reviews

This 1973 TV remake of the Billy Wilder classic is inferior to the original. Surprise!

First, the good things. Lee J. Cobb makes a terrific Barton Keyes. He's not as good as Edward G. Robinson, of course, but he's the only reason to watch this. This remake's only improvement over the original is that it cuts down the role of Lola Dietrichson, the step-daughter of the femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson.

And that's it for the good things.

The bad things are many. The director records everything in an indifferent manner: if you watched the film with the sound muted you'd hardly get the impression that anything especially interesting was happening. Because of modern bad taste, the film must be in color instead of black and white. Because of 1970s bad taste, all the sets are distractingly ugly. Walter Neff's expensive apartment, in particular, is hideous.

The modern setting hurts in a lot of small ways. Train trips were a bit more unusual in the 70s than in the 40s, so Mr. Dietrichson's decision to take a train seems more of a contrivance. Men stopped wearing hats, which prevents Walter from covering up his brown hair while posing as the white-haired Mr. Dietrichson. Women in mourning stopped wearing veils, which robs Samantha Eggar of a prop Barbara Stanwyck made splendid use of in a key scene. (Oddly, Lola still has the line where she reveals that her stepmother was trying on a black hat and veil before she had need of them.)

Stephen Bochco keeps much of the Billy Wilder-Raymond Chandler script the same. But he makes a lot of tiny, inexplicable changes to the dialogue which leave the script slightly flabby where once it was lean and muscular. Outrageously, the famous motorcycle-cop banter is gone, but look closely and you'll see what looks like a post-production cut where those lines should have been. Bochco may not be to blame.

Richard Crenna is passable as Walter Neff. What might have made this version tolerable is a really splendid Phyllis Dietrichson. Instead we get Samantha Eggar, who comes off like a standard-issue villainess from "Barnaby Jones." But who can blame Eggar? With a director who barely seems interested in what's happening in front of the camera, how could Barbara Stanwyck herself have come off well?


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