Friday night movie: Double Indemnity (1944)

Here’s tonight’s movie:

IMDB rating: [8.5/10]


Double Indemnity is a 1944 American film noir, directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, and produced by Buddy DeSylva and Joseph Sistrom. The script was based on James M. Cain’s 1935 novella of the same title which originally appeared as an eight-part serial in Liberty magazine.

The film stars Fred MacMurray as an insurance salesman, Barbara Stanwyck as a provocative housewife who wishes her husband were dead, andEdward G. Robinson as a claims adjuster whose job is to find phony claims. The term double indemnity refers to a clause in certain life insurance policies that doubles the payout in cases when death is caused by accidental means.

Praised by many critics when first released, Double Indemnity was nominated for seven Academy Awards but did not win any. Widely regarded as a classic, it is often cited as a paradigmatic film noir and as having set the standard for the films that followed in that genre.

Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1992, Double Indemnity was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked #38 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American films of the 20th century, and in 2007 it was 29th on their 10th Anniversary list.

This movie is good because it undoes the popular notion in today’s culture that all women are sweet and cute and never do anything wrong, whereas all men are beasts. And it’s a warning to men not do dismiss Judeo-Christian morality, specifically the prohibitions on murder and adultery. This movie is extremely consistent with the Bible’s teachings, and it’s a thriller to boot.

This movie had a formative influence on me when I was a young man, and helped me to be more realistic about separating a woman’s physical appearance from her moral character. Just because a woman is physically attractive, it doesn’t mean that she is morally good. And there is no corelation between physical beauty and suitability for marriage. This is a lesson that all men should learn. Sweetness and kindness and self-sacrifice are not automatic for any woman, you have to choose one who can do the job.

Happy Friday!

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4 thoughts on “Friday night movie: Double Indemnity (1944)”

  1. Oh my gosh. I’ve read this blog for a while, Wintery, but I honestly couldn’t say much about your taste in movies. Until now! AND I love Raymond Chandler! I don’t know if I’d recommend his books to you, they certainly aren’t exactly as morally clean as you would like. Although his first books are a little better, especially The Big Sleep. I think in some aspects, (not others), Philip Marlowe is a good moral role model. That’s what I like about them.


    1. Well, I have to post the war movies because that’s what made me who I am today. I love world war 2 movies!

      However, I am also a big fan of detective movies and film noire, where there is a femme fatale figure. The best part is, of course, if the man can resist her.

      I listen to a ton of old time radio, as well, and the Phillip Marlowe ones are one of my favorites, along with Gunsmoke.


  2. Wow, thanks for putting this up…and for the fact that you gave a Christian consideration of the film. Your friday movie night is among my favorite posts here.


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