One of the films I absolutely love from the Film Noir genre is “Double Indemnity (1944).” I was forced to watch the film during a film class I took in college and have been hooked on black and whites, and film noir ever since. If you haven’t seen it, you have to check it out. The rainy day weather is perfect for it. Here’s some fun facts about the film:
**The character Walter Neff was originally named Walter Ness, but director/writer Billy Wilder found out that there was a man living in Beverly Hills named Walter Ness who was actually an insurance salesman. To avoid being sued for defamation of character, they changed the name. In the novel, his name is Walter Huff, and Dietrichson is Nirdlinger.
**The scene where Neff and Dietrichson can’t get their car started after the murder was added by Wilder after his car wouldn’t start at the end of a shooting day.
**Dick Powell wanted the role of Walter Neff, but he was under contract to another studio and they wouldn’t allow it. He was enraged and tore up his contract. The role went to Fred MacMurray.
**The blonde wig that Barbara Stanwyck is wearing throughout the movie was the idea of Billy Wilder. A month into shooting Wilder suddenly realized how bad it looked, but by then it was too late to re-shoot the earlier scenes. To rationalize this mistake, in later interviews Wilder claimed that the bad-looking wig was intentional.
**In the first scene in which Walter first kisses Phyllis, we see a wedding ring on Walter’s hand. Fred MacMurray was married and the ring was not noticed until post-production.
**Silver dust was mixed with some subtle smoke effects to create the illusion of waning sunlight in Phyllis Dietrichson’s house.
**In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #29 Greatest Movie of All Time.
**The movie was based on the novel by James M. Cain, which in turn was based on the true story of Ruth Snyder, the subject of a notorious 1920s murder trial.
**Barbara Stanwyck was the first choice to play Phyllis, but she was unnerved when seeing the role was of a ruthless killer. When she expressed her concern to Billy Wilder, he asked her, “Are you a mouse or an actress?”
**In the early 1970s Paramount had plans to remake Double Indemnity (1944) with Robert Redford in the Fred MacMurray role. The project never got off the ground.
**Director Billy Wilder originally filmed an ending where Keyes watches Walter Neff go to the gas chamber.
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