A Few Words About A few words about...™ Double Indemnity

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    When one thinks of Walter Neff and Phyllis Dietrichson, the lead characters in Billy Wilder's 1944 Double Indemnity, one immediately thinks in terms of quintessential noir.

    Nominated for seven Academy Awards, inclusive of Best Picture, and with a place on the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, Double Indemnity is one of the acknowledged masterpieces of classic cinema.

    Originally released by Universal in 1998, the film has gone through a quality clean-up both visually and sonically, and on 8/22 will be available as part of the Studio's Legacy Series as a new 2 disc set.

    The black & white gradations of the disc, along with shadow detail and resolution are like night and day, when compared to the old disc, and while not receiving the full Lowry treatment in dupe sections, the film now looks amazing good.

    The set is presented with commentaries, a documentary and on the second disc, the 1973 television re-make with Richard Crenna in the role originated by Fred MacMurray, and Samantha Egger in the Barbara Stanwyck role. Comparison between the two, especially the use of color photography is of major interest. It is, of course, the original that shines.

    Double Indemnity is a film that has not only stood the test of time, but has never been replicated.

    Universal's new edition comes Very Highly Recommended, especially at under $20 for the set. This is a film that belongs in everyone's library, and for those who have the 1998 edition, is an extremely worthy upgrade.

    RAH
     
  2. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    What he said [​IMG].
     
  3. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    The Universal Legacy series has impressed me so far!
     
  4. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Can't wait to pick it up next week!
     
  5. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

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    Seven days... feels like an eternity. Can't wait!
     
  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    After catching it on TCM, I loved it! I've been extremely happy with Universal's remasters of their classics, so it's good to hear this is their usual great work. This is going into my collection, no contest.
     
  7. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Great news! Now my only delemma is, how fake will it look if I call in sick to work for Tuesday today? [​IMG]
     
  8. Scott Shanks

    Scott Shanks Second Unit

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    I'm pretty sure Tuesday is a holiday. [​IMG]
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I want to update my thoughts on DI, as I viewed the included documentary last night.

    Produced under the steady hand of Universal's Colleen Benn, the documentary is stylish, intelligent, and has more on-screen witnesses than Reds that give the film an intelligence and reason for being.

    Ms. Benn, who has been with the studio as long as I can remember, really knows her stuff. (Actually, rumor has it that she began as a tour guide in the mid-1920s, and may have aided Lon Chaney with make-up on the original Phantom over at Stage 28.)

    In short, this documentary is not studio fluff.

    At around 45 minutes, Universal has taken the time to create what is essentially a college level teaching tool about Film Noir in general, and Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder, James M. Cain and the incredibly able cast.

    And one final note on image quality. Viewing on a larger screen makes it even more obvious how incredibly beautiful this film looks. John Seitz' cinematography is remarkably well reproduced.

    Double Indemnity is a candidate for an early HD 1.37 release when Universal gets around to it.

    Stunning.

    RAH
     
  10. Mark VH

    Mark VH Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, RAH - completely agreed (as mentioned in my Partial Review post). I was initially wary of the doc, recalling the fluff that was The Sting doc last year (completely useless, in my estimation), in addition to the generic "Shadows of Suspense" title. So I was genuinely shocked to find that the doc on the Double Indemnity disc is one of the best of its kind I've ever seen - literally teeming with talking heads, all making significant contributions, and filled with fascinating stories and material. If this is partially what caused the delay in finally getting a Special Edition release, then it was worth it.
     
  11. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    You guys got me. DI has been added to my pickup list next week. Only thing is I won't get to it until Wednesday at the earliest.
     
  12. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    I'm surprised that the documentary is on the feature film disc.

    Is that effectively saying that the b&w image and audio quality is maxed out on the first disc?

    If not, I would rather the feature film be given full use of the disc space and put the documentary with the TV version (yes I know it is in color).

    Btw, I don't want to hear about any of you doing the drinking game of having a drink or shot everytime Neff says "baby." The hospitals are crowded enough already. [​IMG]
     
  13. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

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    My after-work Coke (a-Cola, that is) came straight out of my nose when I read that. [​IMG]
     

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