I have just received the UK special blu-ray edition of Billy Wilder’s “Double Indemnity” (1944). Just one word : great !
The restoration of the movie is very good (image and sound). The film has a commentary by the historian Nick Redman and Screenwriter Lem Dobbs and includes a fine documentary “Shadows of Suspense” and the theatrical trailer. Also, there is a 40 page-booklet with several pictures and interviews by Billy Wilder and James M. Cain…
For Rozsa’s fans, the other main interest is the isolated musical score, in monaural sound with SFX. The quality of the sound is quite correct, with the exception of two tracks which are damaged (*).
The collaboration between Wilder and Rozsa is one of the most audacious in the Hollywood history. Five times, the legendary director and the prolific composer worked together. In 1944, “Double indemnity was their second film after “Five Graves to Caïro” (1943). Each of them gave again a proof of their stupendous talent supported by an outstanding cast including Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson.
The Composer Dr Miklos Rozsa
In his biography “Double Life”, Rozsa told that he met many difficulties in having his musical views agreed during the recording sessions of the score, especially from the musical director of the Paramount. Fortunately he was supported by Wilder and succeeded in having his music played in the way he wanted. Now, for the first time more than 65 years after, we can hear the complete original film score. The success of “Double Indemnity” brought him a nomination for an Academy Award and the opportunity to work with another legendary director Alfred Hitchcock for his next movie “Spellbound” (1945)…
Fred MacMurray & Barbara Stanwyck
I like this movie very much and I feel that it has kept after so many years its powerful capacity of attraction. Wilder wrote a solid script with the help of Raymond Chandler based on a James M. Cain‘s novel (1935). We can understand why “Double Indemnity” inspired many younger directors among them Lawrence Kasdan (“Body Heat” / 1981) and Dennis Hopper (“The Hot Spot”/ 1990). Today, it remains one of the greatest classic of the American “Film Noir”, I do hope this opinion will be shared by many…
The French Poster
Suite from "Double Indemnity"
For those that could be interested in, here are my own musical track selections from the UK blu-ray edition of “Double Indemnity”.
Complete Musical Score with SFX (Approx. Total Time : 49.47) :
01. Main Title / Office Memorandum (4.45)
02. Mrs Dietrichson (2.36)
03. Back to the Office (0.31)
04. Phyllis’s Phone Message (1.01)
05. Phyllis’ Proposition (1.28)
06. Straight Down the Line* (3.25)
07. Double Indemnity* (1.47)
08. At Jerry’s Market (1.04)
09. Walter’s Office (0.34)
10. Extra Careful (6.01)
11. The End of the Line (3.47)
12. Walter’s Anxiety (0.38)
13. Keyes’s Visit (1.30)
14. “Shut Up, Baby !” (2.17)
15. Walter and Lola (1.01)
16. Sticking Together (3.18)
17. Hollywood Bowl** (2.23)
18. Walter’s Thoughts (0.55)
19. Walter’s Phone Call (2.15)
20. Radio Music – Piano (3.50)
21. “Good Bye, Baby !” / Finale (8.01)
* : damaged
** : from Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D minor
Barabara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and The Director Billy Wilder
P. S. : If you want to know more about “Double indemnity”, please refer to :
· Books :
“Double life” by Miklos Rozsa (in English) ; 2011 ; The University of Wisconsin Press.
“Soundtrack : The Music of The Movies” by Mark Evans (in English) with an introduction by Miklos Rozsa ; 1979 ; Da Capo Press, New York.
“Conversation with Billy Wilder” by Cameron Crow (in English) ; 1999 ; Alfred A. Knopf, publisher, New York.
“Le Film Noir” by Patrick Brion (in French) ; 1992 ; Editions de la Martiniere.
· Music :
CD Album of “A Musical Autobiography” by Miklos Rozsa ; Voume 1 (1937/1949).
CD Album of “Miklos Rozsa : The Lost Weekend, Double Indemnity and The Killers” ; 1997 ; performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Sedares ; Koch International Classics.
CD Album of “Spellbound, The Classic Film Scores of Milkos Rozsa” ; 1975 / 2001 ; performed by The National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Gerhardt ; RCA Red Seal.
· Video :
Blu-ray edition of “Double Indemnity” ; Eureka ! (Masters of Cinema) ; Spine N°44 – Region B ; UK ; 2012 ; Link :