Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Richard Crenna & Lee J. Cobb in Double Indemnity (1973)

This television remake of the iconic film noir might, on the surface seem like a mistake. It is, of course, not the original, however it holds its own, and there's a lot to like about it. The story is the familiar one told so beautifully back in 1944 by Billy Wilder, but it's updated to then present day LA. Walter Neff (Crenna) is an insurance agent who gets caught in a complicated web of intrigue by Phyllis Dietrickson (Samantha Eggar) when she enlists him to help her do away with her husband. Barton Keyes (Cobb) is the pensive investigator who just misses putting it all together until the last reel. This production was adapted for television by a young Steven Bochco from the original film and novel by James M. Cain. Much like in the neo noir film The Long Goodbye by Altman, also released in 1973, it's fun and incongruous to see the hard boiled dialog and world weary noir characters among the trappings of early 70's Los Angeles.

You can find this version of the story among the extras of the DVD release of the original 1944 film. It can also be seen on StageVu, uploaded by Horror Vision. It's otherwise difficult to find.

Obscurity factor: 8 (available as an extra on the original film's DVD, also on StageVu, largely forgotten)


  1. Wow, I didn't know that this existed! Can't wait to watch it.

  2. It's a fun take on the familiar tale...