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Double Indemnity (Universal Legacy Series) (1944)

Fred MacMurray , Barbara Stanwyck , Billy Wilder  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Writers: Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler
  • Producers: Joseph Sistrom
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 22, 2006
  • Run Time: 182 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JNG5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,166 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Double Indemnity (Universal Legacy Series)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Introduction by Robert Osborne
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Richard Schickel
  • Audio Commentary with HIstorian/Screenwriter Lem Dobbs and Film Historian Nick Redman
  • Shadows of Suspense
  • Double Indemnity (1973) TV Movie

  • Editorial Reviews

    Additional Features

    If there's anything you ever wanted to know about Double Indemnity or film noir, you're likely to find it in these special features: two feature commentaries; an in-depth documentary; and an introduction by Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies to put the movie into context. Osborne's introduction of Indemnity, "by far one of the best film noir dramas ever made," succinctly sets the background, noting how many pieces of this delicate film puzzle almost never came together, and some of the issues will seem almost quaint to modern viewers (the producers had difficulty casting actors in 1944 who were willing to be in a movie with a plot centered on adultery and murder), which is key to understanding the edge this movie had upon its release. If you've never seen the movie before, you may want to watch the 37-minute documentary Shadows of Suspense first to pique your interest. Shadows does an excellent job of showing why and how noir came to be, and how Indemnity is at the vortex of that movement, illustrating the dramatic history of the film itself and the numerous obstacles that had to be overcome to get it onto the screen. "If I had one movie to explain to people what noir is, it's Double Indemnity" states author Eddie Muller at the start of Shadows. Muller also states that noir is Hollywood's only organic artistic movement, making Indemnity a movie that is a symbol of a watershed era in American film. The two commentary tracks-–the first by film historian Richard Schickel, the second by screenwriter Lem Dobbs and film historian Nick Redman together-–go in-depth beyond the points raised in Osborne's introduction to flesh out the characters in the movie, as well as the characters behind the scenes like director Billy Wilder and co-writer Raymond Chandler. Taken together, the two commentary tracks could make a decent film-school lecture session. The second disc contains the forgettable 1973 television movie version of Double Indemnity starring Richard Crenna and Samantha Eggar. This 75-minute long version may only be interesting as a comparison to the original, proving the old adage that "they just don't make 'em like they used to." --Daniel Vancini

    Product Description

    Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray star in this gripping film noir from Academy Award-winning director Billy Wilder. A calculating wife encourages her wealthy husband to sign a double indemnity policy proposed by smitten insurance agent Walter Neff. As the would-be lovers plot the unsuspecting husband's murder, they are pursued by a suspicious claims manager (Edward G. Robinson). It's a race against time to get away with the perfect crime in this heart-racing Academy Award-nominated masterpiece.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    230 of 263 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars A classic film but an appallingly bad DVD transfer. October 30, 1999
    By A Customer
    Format:DVD
    Double Indemnity is obviously a classic film but this DVD transfer is appalling. Almost every scene is incredibly grainy, the source print is obviously not in very good conditon (perhaps needing to be refurbished), and to top it off, there are no deluxe features and the extra packaging is rather inadequate(with no information booklet or history of the movie).
    This would be frustrating for any film but is downright shameful treatment of a cinema classic. We can only hope someone will spend the time and money necessary to restore the print for a new theater run, as has been done with other older films. Perhaps then, DVD buyers will get the version of this classic they deserve.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    166 of 192 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    this is a 5 star movie....

    this review is of the NEW Universal 2 dvd set.... which is a three star value.

    Typical of Universals crappy Deer Hunter 2 DVD set..we've got a classic movie....with extras that could easily fit on one DVD...but Universal tries to make this into a bigger "ticket" by stretching it out.

    The movie....its a classic...I've got the original release on DVD. The EXTRAS are

    1) an introduction by Robert Osborne, nothing special and watched once you'll be irritated having to see it again every time you hit PLAY..

    2) commentary tracks by the usual suspects (including the king of bloat Richard Schickel) and Universal has two so they put two more extra features on their package for these..

    3) a half hour film noir primer , that's been done better on the WB noir sets and again features the same film professors etc that we are growing all too familiar with.

    4) a 1 hour and 15 minute TV version from the 70's starring Richard Crenna ...which is the ONLY feature on the second disc.

    I'll give Universal a bit of credit...the film itself does seem a bit improved over the initial out of print release...but closer scrutiny of the two would be necessary and I've got a life so I'll leave that to others.

    Bottom line....Universal is hard to figure out...they take some multiple classic titles and stuff em onto flipper DVDs (info on both sides) and crank em out cheap..ie the Brando,Wayne,Cooper,Lombard sets....and then they take other films and run the package to two discs for no other reason than to make it "seem" important and packed with extras. They use strange fat cases to make it seem like these are books full of goodies instead of space filling clear plastic...
    Read more ›
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    41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Could Restored 35mm print be on the horizon? October 13, 2005
    Format:DVD
    oops, 5-star is obviously for the movie, not the current very poor presentation on DVD.

    But this September the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC screened their newly restored 35mm print of this film. It was stunning gorgeous B&W imagery (think the 2-disc special edition of Casablanca which came out last year). I'll be checking Amazon every few weeks to see if its release has been scheduled!
    Was this review helpful to you?
    56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, deplorable DVD February 28, 2000
    Format:DVD
    What a tremendous film! It's just wonderful. Especially Edward G. Robinson. Sadly, it's a bit dated (much of the dialogue looks rather campy by today's standards), but the plot hasn't aged a day. It's still a tense and enthralling film noir masterpiece.
    It's a pity the DVD is so very poor. It's really awful. I can't stress this enough. It's very grainy, there are no bonus features at all, and there's no liner notes at all. Extremely shoddy treatment of such a wonderful film. I'd like to see a special edition of this film produced as soon as possible, and done right!
    Was this review helpful to you?
    17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Film Noir of the Forties December 5, 2001
    Format:VHS Tape
    Writer John M. Cain's story of lust, greed, and murder is brought to life in the film Double Indemnity. Director Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard) along with writer Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye) brings Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson into a great film noir. Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) is a successful insurance salesman. He falls in love with Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwych). Mrs. Dietrichson is trapped in a loveless marriage and wants her husband, Mr. Dietrichson (Tom Powers) killed off so she can claim the insurance money. This wonderful plot in Double Indemnity has many twists and turns in it. There are so many obstacles for Walter Neff and Phyllis Dietrichson to overcome. They have to time everything just right and this keeps you on the edge of your seat. There are so many moments in the film where you think the whole scheme is about to collapse. Neff and Dietrichson are such witty characters that they seem to have the right thing to say or do at the right time. Until the end of the story there never seems to be a crack in the plan. Neff is even surprised how good the plan is working out. After they have committed the murder, Lola Dietrichson, (Jean Heather) Mr. Dietrichson's daughter, becomes attached to Neff. At the very end of the movie Neff finds out what Phyllis Dietrichson's real plan is and tried to put a stop to it. You will have to watch the movie to find out how they both end up. I highly recommend this movie for people of all ages. The film really kept me on the edge of my seat the entire second half. I cannot think of any other film noir made in the nineteen forties with such a good story line. This is one film noir you can't miss.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
    well written and worth watching
    Published 6 days ago by Dream_Catcher_male
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great video, and great cards!
    Published 7 days ago by Jordan
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top three favorite films!
    Two of the most talented stars in Hollywood at the time at the top of their craft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!One of my top three favorite films!
    Published 7 days ago by Bruce
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great cast.
    What a film. A story of the 40's in L.A. Great cast.
    Published 8 days ago by Ted Echt
    5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful movie in the past and now the present
    This is a wonderful movie in the past and now the present. It was one of several I did not order.
    I'm losing faith in the Amazon organization.
    Published 8 days ago by Violet M Pulli
    4.0 out of 5 stars Fun story. Fred MacMurray is a bit over the ...
    Fun story. Fred MacMurray is a bit over the top the way he always calls Barbara Stanwyck 'baby'. The change from insurance salesman to acting like a hard boiled gangster is a bit... Read more
    Published 8 days ago by Monster Zero Tunes
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    One of the greatest film Noir movies of all time. Nothing more to say except very good video quality.
    Published 9 days ago by Samuel P. Harris
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    a super movie
    Published 9 days ago by Joseph A.
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Item was as described.
    Published 11 days ago by John Sziber
    5.0 out of 5 stars Best film noir film--period
    Best film noir film--period. Probably the best DVD commentary I have heard. Best movie performance of Robinson, Stanwyk and Fred Mac...
    Published 14 days ago by Fred
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    transfer
    I've just bought this "Special Edition" simply because I love the film, it's my favorite Noir. As far as the quality of the transfer is concerned, I have to admit that after watching the film I was somewhat surprised by Robert Osborne's gushing intro saying how good the film now looks.... Read More
    Sep 16, 2006 by Paul Fogarty |  See all 3 posts
    transfer
    7 years later, and I have the same comment as Bev. Amazon is putting the same comment thread on all the DVDs, so the 3-4 different DVD releases all have the same 'bad transfer' comment. But you can't tell which copy is bad (are they all bad). errr.
    Nov 29, 2013 by John S. Mclachlan |  See all 2 posts
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