Though James M. Cain wrote, revised, and did screenplay clean ups, his bread and butter were his novels and lucky for us, a few of these outstandingly crafted books were adapted into marvelous movies. Two of my favorites are Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce.
Double Indemnity (1944) is a thriller noir directed by one of the most brilliant filmmakers in the business, Billy Wilder. The film stars Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson, a sultry housewife, who seduces insurance salesman, Walter Neff (performed by Fred MacMurray) into tricking her husband into signing an accident insurance policy instead of an automobile insurance policy. From here, this 1 hour and 47 minute picture thrusts its viewers into a web of lies, lust, and murder. Though MacMurray gives a strong performance, it is Stanwyck that was the true standout. Her stellar presentation won her a well deserved Academy Award nomination.
Mildred Pierce (1945) – After Bert Pierce leaves his wife Mildred for another woman, Mildred takes on the sole responsibility of raising their two daughters on her own. In time, she starts up a successful restaurant business much to the resentment of her ungrateful daughter, Veda, who believes it is a strain to the family’s social status. This 1 hour and 51 minute masterpiece was directed by Michael Curtiz and would go on to receive six Academy Award nominations. Joan Crawford would walk away with a golden statue for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Both of these films are outstanding and are a must see for the true classic film viewer. They both can be rented for around $3.99 on YouTube or Amazon Prime. They are worth a look. You'll thank me later.