am 7. Januar 1999
Double Indemnity is perhaps the best film noir of all; and this is perhaps the best volume in the entire BFI series of monographs on classic (and modern classic) films. Schickel's study includes the usual (for the series) personal appreciation of the film and the way it helped create the genre (Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane set the tone and the look; Double Indemnity contributed the central iconic character of noir, the two-timing blonde, and it wasn't until she was added to the mix that the genre took off). But it's also a solid job of research, detailing the work process of Wilder and his often-frustrated collaborator Raymond Chandler, the way in which they turned Cain's prose into speakable dialogue (in the process improving almost every aspect of the original), and most intriguing of all, outlining the film's original ending, in which death in the electric chair paid off the theme of mechanized people in a mechanized society riding an assembly line to doom.