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Oscar Vault Monday – Double Indemnity, 1944 (dir. Billy Wilder)


Billy Wilder has got to be one of the most masterful and varied directors of all time. He has written and directed some of the greatest films of all time. Although he made films in a variety of genres, two of his greatest achievements were in the film-noir genre: 1950’s Sunset Blvd. and 1944’s Double Indemnity. I watched this film for the first time in November (also known as Noirvember) and I was blown away by how wonderful it was. Barbara Stanwyck’s Phyllis Dietrichson is perhaps the greatest of all femme fatales. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, but failed to win a single award: Best Sound, Best Score, Best B&W Cinematography, Best Screenplay. Best Actress Barbra Stanwyck, Best Director and Best Picture. It was up against Gaslight, Since You Went Away, Wilson and winner Going My Way. I think Going My Way‘s win is a testament to its star Bing Crosby’s popularity. It’s a film that, other than Crosby’s performance, has not aged well; whereas the popularity and critical acclaim for Double Indemnity has continued to grow throughout the decades. In fact, the film found its way on to several of the American Film Institute’s 100 years… series: 100 Years…100 Movies #38 (1998), 100 Years…100 Thrills #24 (2001), 100 Years…100 Passions #84 (2002), 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains: Phyllis Dietrichson, villain #8 (2003), 100 Years…100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) #29 (2007).

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