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Information

Year
1944
Runtime
107 min.
Director
Billy Wilder
Genres
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Film-Noir
Rating *
8.3
Votes *
104,677
Checks
18,152
Favs
2,206
Dislikes
56
Favs/checks
12.2% (1:8)
Favs/dislikes
39:1
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. dream_tiger's avatar

    dream_tiger

    Baby. 2 years 10 months ago
  2. memo1's avatar

    memo1

    From IMDB

    This film came out in 1944, the same year David O. Selznick released Since You Went Away (1944). Part of the campaign for the latter film were major ads that declared, "'Since You Went Away' are the four most important words in movies since 'Gone With the Wind'!" which Selznick had also produced. Wilder hated the ads and decided to counter by personally buying his own trade paper ads which read, "'Double Indemnity' are the two most important words in movies since 'Broken Blossoms'!" referring to the 1919 'D.W. Griffith' classic. Selznick was not amused and even considered legal action against Wilder. Alfred Hitchcock (who had his own rocky relationship with Selznick) took out his own ads which read, "The two most important words in movies today are 'Billy Wilder'!"
    2 years 9 months ago
  3. MarkE89's avatar

    MarkE89

    Admittedly, upon first viewing I was instantly smitten with this film. It became a favorite of mine and further elevated my high regard of Billy Wilder. And it does have everything to offer a burgeoning film geek; a classic film noir of universal acclaim but snubbed of 7 Oscars by the damn Academy; snappy dialog, like "You ought to have some of that pink wine to go with it. The kind that bubbles. All I got is bourbon"; and an intricate plan gone to pieces because of the fiendish femme fatale.

    Unfortunately, for the first time since this initial crush, I rewatched it yesterday and was quite disappointed. Most of the lines seem unnecessarily intricate, the plot is weak and the motivations are unbelievable.

    The film is still absolutely beautiful, and a prime example of the sparse film noir mise-en-scene, Wilder’s framing is excellent and Edward G. Robinson is enthralling as always. Nevertheless, almost everything else now feels dated and outright silly. Most plot points would never be accepted by today’s audiences, and I suspect, were unconvincing even back then. Of course, by 1940s standards we’re used to the kind of straight-forward, superficial love propelled by the script. We love seeing Bogart seduce a lonely book-keeper with nothing but appropriately delivered quips and hip flasks. We’ll even gladly accept any improbable romance between Alan Ladd and the gorgeous Veronica Lake. And yet, the first flirting (ie esoteric insinuations) between MacMurray and Stanwyck comes off stiff and bookish. The exchange stretches beyond belief too soon in spite of the obvious charm and dynamic it would present on paper.

    Regrettably, the romance continues unashamedly so, with one too many “baby” thrown in and convictions thrown out. The entire set-up becomes preposterous as a result and we never believe the supposedly underlying romantic motivations. Further, the plan itself becomes questionable as Neff’s initial professional considerations concerning the evidence are completely disregarded in terms of an autopsy and his fingerprints. What we suspected to be a brilliantly executed plan proves to be rather flawed and, essentially, half-assed. It doesn’t even unfold like this in a usual noir, chaotic, structural kind of way, the laziness of the script just suddenly dawns on you.

    Next, the plot unduly thickens with Nino, a guy we can neither know nor care about, primarily based on his introductory lines of exposition; “I don’t have any friends! And if I did, I like to choose them myself,” whatever that means, coupled with the mischievous notion that he’s seemingly going after both step-mom and daughter. The big reveal comes with his involvement which proves to be negligible, to say the least, but could still end up saving the day for Neff. However, the sudden, inexplicable bloodlust of our main characters ruin the moment and along with it, Nino’s chance to become a fall guy.
    Neff is then forced to use his remaining strength to stumble back into his boss’ office and recount the story in two hours’ worth of details – presumably on numerous tapes.
    Mainly, because of reasons.

    Finally, the film ends on a forced cathartic note of Keyes lighting a match for the burned out Neff. An action which offers little other symbolic value.

    All things considered, it’s still an entertaining film and a recommended viewing for anyone interested in the film noir canon. However, this is primarily an extension of its pulpy B-film roots with little grace to offer people who don't buy into a story of a 3-hour-romance leading to double homicide and overthrowing lifelong ideals. It would be a shame to rank it as a masterpiece alongside The Killing, or Wilder’s own Witness For The Prosecution - which, depending on your expectations, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    I had just convinced myself to expect a little more.
    6/10
    2 years 10 months ago
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In 30 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #3 in Film-noir
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    Film-noir

    3
  2. This movie ranks #6 in 1940s
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    1940s

    6
  3. This movie ranks #19 in Mystery
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    Mystery

    19
  4. This movie ranks #24 in AFI's 100 years...100 thrills
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    AFI's 100 years...100 th…

    24
  5. This movie ranks #29 in AFI's 100 years...100 movies
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    AFI's 100 years...100 mo…

    29
  6. This movie ranks #31 in Crime
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    Crime

    31
  7. This movie ranks #31 in Thriller
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    Thriller

    31
  8. This movie ranks #38 in A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
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    A Personal Journey with …

    38
  9. This movie ranks #48 in 100 Must-See Films Of The 20th Century
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    100 Must-See Films Of Th…

    48
  10. This movie ranks #49 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
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    Halliwell's Top 1000: Th…

    49
  11. This movie ranks #65 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
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    Roger Ebert: the great m…

    65
  12. This movie ranks #67 in 250 Quintessential Noir Films
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    250 Quintessential Noir …

    67
  13. This movie ranks #84 in National Film Registry
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    National Film Registry

    84
  14. This movie ranks #84 in AFI's 100 years...100 passions
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    AFI's 100 years...100 pa…

    84
  15. This movie ranks #85 in Top 250
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    Top 250

    85
  16. This movie ranks #99 in FilmTotaal top 100
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    FilmTotaal top 100

    99
  17. This movie ranks #133 in Empire 500
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    Empire 500

    133
  18. This movie ranks #143 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees
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    Academy Award Best Pictu…

    143
  19. This movie ranks #145 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
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    They Shoot Pictures, Don…

    145
  20. This movie ranks #149 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
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    The Story of Film: An Od…

    149
  21. This movie ranks #166 in The British Film Institute: 360 Classics
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    The British Film Institu…

    166
  22. This movie ranks #171 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
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    1001 Movies You Must See…

    171
  23. This movie ranks #175 in Masters Of Cinema
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    Masters Of Cinema

    175
  24. This movie ranks #232 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
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    Jonathan Rosenbaum's Ess…

    232
  25. This movie ranks #246 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
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    The Best 1,000 Movies Ev…

    246
  26. This movie ranks #268 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
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    The Guardian's 1000 Film…

    268
  27. This movie ranks #268 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
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    TimeOut's 1000 Films to …

    268
  28. This movie ranks #284 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
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    Have You Seen? A Persona…

    284
  29. This movie ranks #353 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
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    Sight and Sound 2012 - C…

    353
  30. This movie ranks #356 in 501 Must See Movies
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    501 Must See Movies

    356
View all lists this movie is in