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Some Like It WilderThe Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder$
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Gene D. Phillips

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125701

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125701.001.0001

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The Rise of Film Noir

The Rise of Film Noir

Double Indemnity

(p.53) 4 The Rise of Film Noir
Some Like It Wilder


University Press of Kentucky

In his book on film noir, William Hare repeats the story that one day Billy Wilder could not find his secretary. He was told by one of the women in the office that she was holed up in the ladies' room, reading a novella titled Double Indemnity. Double Indemnity portrayed a decadent, depraved world of violence and duplicity. On September 21, 1943, Paramount sent Joseph Breen a screen treatment of Double Indemnity, a detailed synopsis that Wilder had prepared in conjunction with Charles Brackett. Double Indemnity deals with the great American pastime of cheating an insurance company, and it does so with deadly seriousness. The title of the film refers to the double insurance benefit paid out in the event of accidental death. This film also originally intended to conclude with Walter's execution. In recent years commentators on Double Indemnity have steadily come to recognize it as quintessential film noir.

Keywords:   Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity, Charles Brackett, William Hare, film noir, Paramount, insurance company, cheating

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