Double Indemnity - Research Article from St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture

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Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity (1935) is one of the classic, tough-talking murder stories of the late 1930s. Written by controversial mystery novelist James M. Cain (1892-1977), Double Indemnity is based upon a true story about a weak-willed insurance agent, Walter Huff, who falls for sultry blond, Phyllis Nirdlinger. Nirdlinger's inconvenient husband has to be eliminated so that his wife and her lover can collect on his life insurance, a policy which doubles in value if the holder dies by accident.

Like The Postman Always Rings Twice, upon which it is modeled, l'amour fou, or sexually charged obsessive love, is at the heart of this psychologically realistic novel. Cain, along with, for example, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett have been called, perhaps unjustly in Cain's case, members of the hard-boiled school of detective novelists. Edmund Wilson has referred to them as "the poets of the tabloid murder" because of their...

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This section contains 723 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Double Indemnity Encyclopedia Article
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Double Indemnity from St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.