DOUBLE INDEMNITY REVIEWS. 1. Paul Howlett at The Guardian, 2011. (Warning: spoilers!) Screenwriters Wilder and Raymond Chandler did a terrific job on James M Cain's hardboiled novel – with a pairing like that, how could they not? It crackles with sardonic dialogue, as in the couple's first charged meeting, when Neff is so taken by Phyllis and her sexy anklet ("There's a speed limit in this state, Mr Neff – 45 miles per hour." "How fast was I going, officer?" "I'd say around 90"). His world-weary voiceover, likewise, has an eerie, doomed quality: "I couldn't hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man." Full review here: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2011/nov/29/my-favourite-film-double-indemnity (warning: spoilers).
2. Roger Ebert at RogerEbert.com, 1998. Spoilers. Wilder's "Double Indemnity” was one of the earlier films noir. The photography by John Seitz helped develop the noir style of sharp-edged shadows and shots, strange angles and lonely Edward Hopper settings. It's the right fit for the hard urban atmosphere and dialogue created by Cain, Chandler, and the other writers Edmund Wilson called "the boys in the back room.” "Double Indemnity” has one of the most familiar noir themes: The hero is not a criminal, but a weak man who is tempted and succumbs. In this "double” story, the woman and man tempt one another; neither would have acted alone. Both are attracted not so much by the crime as by the thrill of committing it with the other person. Love and money are pretenses. Full review here: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-double-indemnity-1944 (warning: spoilers).
3. Staff, The Hollywood Review, 1944. Taking a little-known James M. Cain story for subject matter, Wilder and that admirable writer of top-notch detective fiction, Raymond Chandler, collaborated on a screenplay that makes Cain literate. The dialogue has a business-like crispness to it that reminds you of people you know. Indeed it is the down-to-earth characters, small talk and intriguing, incidental bits of business that make Double Indemnity the showmanly piece of merchandise exhibitors will only have to sell before opening, letting word of mouth take over from there to pile up its grosses. Full review here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/double-indemnity-review-1944-movie-996685 (warning: spoilers).
4. Pauline Kael, New Yorker This shrewd, smoothly tawdry thriller, directed by Billy Wilder, is one of the high points of nineteen-forties films. Barbara Stanwyck’s Phyllis Dietrichson—a platinum blonde who wears tight white sweaters, an anklet, and sleazy-kinky shoes—is perhaps the best acted and the most fixating of all the slutty, cold-blooded femmes fatales of the film-noir genre. Full review here: https://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/movies/double-indemnity.