Double Indemnity

Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, 1943. Shooting script for the cornerstone 1944 film noir, based on the 1943 novella by James M. Cain, and written for the screen by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder. The AFI Catalog indicates that shooting began on September 27, 1943, this script being dated two days earlier.

This script includes two alternate ending sequences: (1) the one that was used, with Elliott Neff (MacMurray) dying in the hallway of the insurance office of his boss' door (Edward G. Robinson), and (2) the one that was not used, with MacMurray in the gas chamber while the cast looks on from behind the glass.

The second, more brutal ending, totaling 3 pages here with no dialogue whatsoever, was shot, but ultimately deemed out of context with the film and replaced. The well known substitute sequence is a more subtle one, with Neff dying slowly as he dictates the last of the confession that has been the substance of the story. The footage for the "gas chamber" sequence is lost, and only still photographs remain.

In a custom quarter leather binding with gilt titles, design, and rule, with raised bands. Binding housed in a cloth chemise, with chemise housed in a quarter-leather slipcase, also with gilt titles and design and raised bands.

Billy Wilder, typically making the right decision at the right time, decided it was time to bring in lauded hard-boiled crime fiction author Raymond Chandler to work on a great crime drama. The source material was Cain's seminal hard-boiled novelette. The two worked on the script for several weeks together, and at one point Cain was even brought in to resolve some questions. The result was a movie that set the standard for all that would follow, using a cut-up time structure, Barbara Stanwyck in a blonde wig, Fred MacMurray as a soulless sucker, and Edward G. Robinson as the straight man. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards (a rare feat for a genre picture), including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Cinematography, and Best Actress.

Binding as noted above, with scuffing to the cloth of the chemise and slipcase, but principal binding itself Near Fine. Script: self-wrappers, dated September 25, 1943, with credits for screenwriters Chandler and Wilder. 130 leaves, the last page numbered E3. Pages and wrapper Very Good plus and supple, with original brad holes present and visible at the left edge of binding.


[Book #149840]

Price: $18,500.00