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Double Indemnity (Universal Legacy Series) (1944)

Fred MacMurray , Barbara Stanwyck , Billy Wilder  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)

Price: $37.06 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $20.86  
DVD 1-Disc Version $10.28  
  2-Disc Version $37.06  
Other [VHS] Gene Shalit's Critic's Choice Edition $27.49  

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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: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JNG5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,188 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
    225 of 254 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
    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?
    160 of 185 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 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...
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    40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Could Restored 35mm print be on the horizon? October 13, 2005
    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?
    55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, deplorable DVD February 28, 2000
    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?
    76 of 91 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FILM - TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE DVD TRANSFER June 23, 2004
    By A Customer
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    Do not purchase this DVD release. Its transfer to DVD is truly horrendous.
    Wait for some other distributor to release it.
    Wonderful film. Totally botched DVD release.
    Wait for it...
    Comment | 
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    22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wanna hear a real crime story? September 29, 2005
    By walker
    The true life crime behind this film noir masterpiece is

    that no otherwise worthy studio (ie. Image, Criterion Collection,Anchor Bay, Kino) has re-issued this DVD after Universal senslessly dropped it from production 4 years ago. Today, the few remaining original, factory-sealed copies are selling on Amazon for over $100. As always, Universal Home

    Video's site refuses to receive consumer feedback. As they only just released the Region 2 version this July, they probably still own the video rights. But my Region 1 player won't play the disc. Needless to say, I am very upset. Will my fellow

    cinephiles, please lobby Amazon to lobby Universal?? THE

    Comment | 
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    26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Legendary Thriller deserves quality transfer July 8, 2003
    this legendary thriller is one of the greatest and most influential and most imitated films in motion picture history. the dialogue is intelligent, the plot is engrossing and the cast stellar. one question: why is the DVD transfer of this great film of very inferior quality. artifacts are rampant throughout. the picture is very grainy through most of the film. so much could have been done with this film. it is certainly among those films that deserved the special treatment but appears as though the distributers and studio used the first negative available for the transfer. very disappointing DVD. i don't usually purchase a second DVD version of any film, but the transfer on this one was so inferior, i'll make exception here.
    Comment | 
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    11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A film noir masterpiece for a Fall night September 8, 2005
    Format:VHS Tape
    It is the middle of the night in downtown Los Angeles, luscious film noir land brilliantly photographed by John Seitz in high gloss B&W and grippingly scored by Miklos Rozsa. A wounded Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray in his greatest performance) gets out of a taxi at an insurance building. Dripping blood, he gets into an elevator and rides up to his office, where he starts dictating a confession into an old-fashioned dictaphone. That confession will be the entire movie in flashback.

    So begins Billy Wilder's incomparable film noir, DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944, Paramount), that uses a flashback framing device, but periodically returns to Neff in the office as dawn slowly comes to Los Angeles. Murder mysteries just don't get any better than this masterpiece that swept the Oscar nominations (but not for MacMurray!), but lost most of them to Leo McCarey's likeable but wildly overrated GOING MY WAY. Trying to get a Mr. Dietrichson (Tom Powers) to renew an insurance policy, Neff gets romantically involved with alluring wife Phyllis Dietrichson (a blonde Barbara Stanwyck). The two of them then team up to commit the seemingly perfect murder of Mr. Dietrichson on a train at night.

    Everything seems to go perfectly, except for a witness (Porter Hall) who remembers Neff (as Dietrichson) being on the observation deck when he was not supposed to be. And, of course, investigating the entire crime is claims manager Barton Keyes (a brilliant Edward G. Robinson), Neff's boss. I once wrote a term paper on DOUBLE INDEMNITY as a student at UCLA. The subject was who do we root for here--Neff or Keyes? Clearly, the censor board wants us to root for Keyes. Neff is a criminal.

    But Wilder and co-writer/novelist Raymond Chandler make both men complex and curiously sympathetic.
    Read more ›
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    "Double Indemnity" is considered one of the best film noir movies ever made but after viewing Universal's superb new Blu-ray presentation in honor of it's 70th Anniversary,... Read more
    Published 19 hours ago by MICHAEL STODGHILL
    First off: I absolutely love this movie. I can watch it anytime; have done so on many, many occasions over the years and I never tire of it. Read more
    Published 5 days ago by Casey62
    5.0 out of 5 stars Before "Body Heat"
    This movie is about a guy who gets caught up. It shows how things can get WAY out of control when things are done for the wrong reasons. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Gregory Lucas
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite movies of all time...
    Admittedly, I was a little taken aback after seeing that Barbara Stanwyck only made #11 on the Best Actresses of All Time list. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Cassia2014
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Gone With the Wind of films noirs
    This picture put Billy Wilder in the first rank of directors and set a model for many noirs to follow, up to and including Body Heat. Based on a hot pulp novel by James M. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Eric O. Allstrom
    5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth transaction!
    This is just what I was looking for. The transaction went very smoothly. Product was in perfect shape. Thanks for making it so easy.
    Published 1 month ago by Colleen C. Turpin
    5.0 out of 5 stars Some Like It Noir
    It's incredible to think that "Double Indemnity" was only Billy Wilder's second film as a director. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Nowhere Man
    5.0 out of 5 stars one of the movies greatest films.
    This film was released on April 24th of 1944 by Paramount Pictures. That year they also had "Going My Way" in the Oscar race. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Martin Berkowitz
    5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant movie.
    Brilliant movie with brilliant actors & actresses! It's the best crime mystery film I ever saw; I will be watching this again and again.
    Published 2 months ago by Julianna Szabo
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Film Noir
    Fred McMurray and Barbara Stanwick are at the top of their game in this Film Noir treasure. Fred McMurray was a fine serious actor and well as a TV star. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Sonnenstadt
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    Topic From this Discussion
    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
    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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