Time: 107 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Film Noir
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, Cinematography, Score, Director, Sound, Screenplay and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: An unhappily married woman seduces her insurance broker to help her fatally solve the problem of her husband with devastating results.
BOTTOM LINE: From comedy to film noir, director Billy Wilder always managed to tell complex, engaging stories with characters you never forget. INDEMNITY is one of his darkest films, focusing on the great American ambition for instant wealth. Stanwyck plays Phyllis Dietrichson, the femme fatale with a heart of stone and a backbone of steel. She ensnares insurance man Walter Neff (MacMurray) with her tales of marital woe and her shapely ankles. Tired of being lonely and seriously turned on, Neff comes up with a scheme that will rid her of her unloving husband, allow them to be together and earn them a sizeable payoff as well. The plan goes off perfectly except for one small hitch.
His bulldog of a boss (Robinson) doesn't believe Dietrichson's death was accidental and refuses to pay, which forces our lovers into a very awkward predicament. Wilder weaves their troubles into a complicated web of lust, lies and betrayal. Stanwyck is brilliant as the cold-hearted bitch who only wants cash to keep her warm. MacMurray is the perfect sucker: smart enough to devise a good plan, but easily manipulated with promises of eternal love. Their behavior is highly unsavory, yet they are so well drawn, you kind of hope their plan succeeds. The look and feel of the film reflects the souls of its' players dark, elusive and totally unforgiving. A perfect example of what film noir is all about.