About the Author
Billy Wilder has been nominated for twenty-one Academy Awards and has won six Oscars.
Jeffrey Meyers has written many books and articles on modern American, English, and European literature.
On every level -- writing, direction, acting -- Double Indemnity (1944) is a triumph and stands as one of the greatest achievements in Billy Wilder's career. Adapted from the James M. Cain novel by director Wilder and novelist Raymond Chandler, it tells the story of an insurance salesman, played by Fred MacMurray, who is lured into a murder-for-insurance plot by Barbara Stanwyck, in an archetypal femme fatale role. From its grim story to its dark, atmospheric lighting, Double Indemnity is a definitive example of World War II-era film noir. Wilder's approach is everywhere evident: in the brutal cynicism the film displays, the moral complexity, and in the empathy we feel for the killers. The film received almost unanimous critical success, garnering seven Academy Award nominations. More than fifty years later, most critics agree that this classic is one of the best films of all time. The collaboration between Wilder and Raymond Chandler produced a masterful script and some of the most memorable dialogue ever spoken in a movie.
This facsimile edition of Double Indemnity contains Wilder and Chandler's original -- and quite different -- ending, published here for the first time. Jeffrey Meyers's introduction contextualizes the screenplay, providing hilarious anecdotes about the turbulent collaboration, as well as background information about Wilder and the film's casting and production.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: A toss-up for Raymond Chandler fans, January 13, 2003 Reviewer: A reader from Santa Barbara, CA For those who already purchased the Library of America edition of "Raymond Chandler : Later Novels and Other Writings" (which contains the screenplay of "Double Indemnity"), here are two reasons why you should buy THIS edition of the "Double Indemnity" screenplay: 1. Unlike most other screenplays published in book form, this edition of "Double Indemnity" appears to be a facsimile of the original screenplay; It's not just a book, but a relic of classic film. 2. This edition also has the alternate/deleted "Gas Chamber" ending which the Library of America edition is lacking. If it were not for the above two qualities, I would recommend any Chandler fan to purchase the Library of America edition of Chandler's work that contains the "Double Indemnity" screenplay instead of this one. Here's why: In this edition, Chandler's name does NOT appear on the cover; only Bill Wilder is credited on the cover. However, Chandler's name DOES appear on the title page and first page of the screenplay (the Amazon scans of the book illustrate this curiosity). Why the exclusion of Chandler from the cover?! Answer: This book was published while Billy Wilder was still alive and he was able to steal the limelight from Raymond Chandler one last time. Well done, Mr. Wilder. As for the screenplay itself, I've read a lot of screenplays of movies that I have liked and "Double Indemnity" reads better than most. The voice-over dialogue for Neff (written by Chandler) is the best part of the screenplay and is worth having in print. Whether you're a fan of classic Film Noir or an aspiring screenwriter, this is a must-have for your bookshelf. As for Chandler fans, it's only a matter of which edition. For more information on Raymond Chandler's involvement in "Double Indemnity", I recommend the book "Creatures of Darkness: Raymond Chandler, Detective Fiction, and Film Noir". After reading, you will see why I and other readers are so incensed by the exclusion of Chandler's credit from the cover.