The Art of Cinema #129


Double Indemnity
(Billy Wilder; 1944)

4 comments:

Vanwall said...

One helluva poster, IMHO, and a favorite of mine. Damned strange if those foreign posters don't capture something that eluded H'wood's chosen displays. Even stranger, it looks like they used part of the deleted death-row scene that Wilder claimed was one of the best things he ever did, and could have won both Robinson and the vastly under-rated McMurray well-deserved Oscars. I understood that scene is lost, and it would be quite something to see. Curious.

BCNU

Tom Sutpen said...

I hadn't thought of that. It's possible that whomever did the poster art (presumably in Spain, though I could be wrong) was working from stills generated at a time when the Death House scene was still in the picture. If any were circulated, though, I've never seen them.

Even with the scene dropped, Robinson and MacMurray still deserved accolades, if not Academy Awards.

Did any director utilize Fred MacMurray better than Billy Wilder did?

Vanwall said...

I thought about the studio still take, too, and that's interesting - perhaps there's more out there. It's actually the best DI poster, for my money.

I find this film fascinating for so many crackerjack performances - and Fred was just flat amazing. Every once in a while, like in "Face of a Fugitive", where he inverts a standard oater, or "Pushover", where he exhibits more depth than the part called for, MacMurray managed to really get my attention. Wilder brought out the best in 'im, for sure, tho - he is totally perfect in this one and in "The Apartment".

Peter L. Winkler said...

Yes, I've seen a still of the deleted scene. It was either in a film noir issue of Film Comment from the mid-70s or in a book titled Raymond Chandler In Hollywood.

In the still, Walter Neff is sitting in the gas chamber and Keyes is one of the observers looking at him through the chamber's windows.