Last Wednesday, Emory University screened Double Indemnity (1944) as part of its Billy Wilder Cinematheque series. I had never seen Double Indemnity before and neither had the friend I went with. I had also never seen a Billy Wilder film before, unless you count the beginning of Ace in the Hole (1951) in my Intro to Film course. My friend and I arrived at 7:25, right before the speaker, Dr. Bernstein, was going to take the stage. I wanted to sit in the front (yes, front row, I know it’s close, but it’s the best) and it was open so that was a score. Once we sat down, I took a look around the theater and I can confirm it was a great turnout. It was a good mixture of students, alums, and elderly people (who would have watched it as a child in theaters).
The clock hit 7:30 and Dr. Bernstein began speaking about Billy Wilder’s accomplishments and other films as well as Double Indemnity itself. I remember hearing something about the movie being the “epitome of film noir” so I went into the screening with high expectations. Not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded in some points. It was a fantastic movie that I really enjoyed. It was funny; it was stressful; it was entertaining; it was everything a good movie should be.
My favorite character had to be Mr. Keyes, played by Edward G. Robinson. He was witty, quick, and humorous sometimes without even trying. He said he had this “little man” living inside him, who determines if a claim for a case was fake or not. The idea of this “little man” and his quips made his character enjoyable to watch and the rest of the audience thought so as well.
Overall, Double Indemnity was a total win in my book. It might be one of my favorite movies from the era of black and white film. The characters were relatable and the plot was intriguing. Additionally, the soundtrack was phenomenal because it added depth, questioning, stress, and other emotions that I have only ever experienced in an MCU movie, The Shining, or Speed Racer (my favorite movie of all time). Double Indemnity is a fantastic film and I will definitely be watching it again and I hope you will watch it sometime.