Billy Wilder's 'Double Indemnity'

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Biography Early life His time in Austria. Billy Wilder’s real name is actually Samuel Wilder. He was born on June 22, 1906 in an area of Austria that is now a part of present-day Poland. He was given the nickname “Billie” because his mother liked the Buffalo Bill Wild West show in her youth (Billy Wilder biography). During his childhood, Billy Wilder grew up in Vienna with his family. Of course his main hobby at that time was watching Hollywood movies such as westerns, adventures, and most importantly, comedies which inspired him to become a successful director in the United States. One of his earliest jobs was working as a newspaper reporter. He ended up living in Austria until the events of World War I took place and caused a great deal…show more content…
This film was based on the novel of the same name by James M. Cain. The title of the movie comes from the double indemnity clause found in insurance policies. It is a clause that allows the widow to obtain double the money if the person who is on the policy dies from an accidental death. It did not win any Oscars but it was nominated for a few of them. Compared to some of Billy Wilder’s other films that were more successful at the box office and won more awards, this particular film stood the test of time and it can thoroughly be enjoyed even by today’s standards. This is a film noir that truly set a standard at the time for other films just like it. The story of the film takes place in Los Angeles and it is about an insurance agent named Walter who meets up with a housewife named Phyllis. These two characters make a detailed plan to kill Phyllis’ husband and collect 100,000 dollars in insurance money (Gallagher, 1987). They plan on killing her husband by having him fall from a train and making it look like an accident which in turn will double the money that she gets. The film made some major changes that made it different from the novel. The first change being that Phyllis only killed two other people in the film version where as in the novel she killed ten other people. In the novel, the additional eight people that Phyllis killed were patients whose deaths she arranged while she was still a nurse (Gallagher, 1987). This change was made because there was no need to have Phyllis kill that many people in the film considering the fact in the novel both Phyllis and Walter commit suicide together. With this change, her motive for killing her husband becomes much more understandable and it also makes Walter a much more likeable character than before because in the novel he just follows her everywhere which makes his obsession with her look somewhat ridiculous compared to the film. Another

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