hollywood is generally derided today for not providing good stories or quality acting or good dialogue, but frankly i think it’s a bit silly to ask hollywood to produce extremely well-made and polished films with sfx that are unseen elsewhere in the world as well as giving us fantastic stories with world class acting and dialogue. it’s kinda like asking jenna jameson to not only fuck like a porn star, but also to cook like julia child, give conversation like oprah and be into sports too. it’s just being greedy. that said, it was done at one time and the 40s were that time. hollywood once was able to produce films like double indemnity that entertained and were well done and had top notch writing and acting and all the rest. of course it doesn’t hurt to have the cast (stanwyck, robinson, macmurray) they have with the writers (wilder, cain, chandler) and composer (miklos rosza) and costume designer (edith head) and cinematographer (seitz) that this film has. these are all top notch talents working on the same film. there was once a time when the master and apprentice relationship still existed. people were able to move up the ranks within the studio system learning from the masters, working their way through to the top. now, films are directed by guys who know guys and the apprentice system in almost all areas of society is basically gone.
double indemnity isn’t as moving and beautiful as all that heaven allows which i also revisited recently, but it’s a great piece of work. there aren’t a lot of films with exchanges like the one you see between macmurray and stanwyck early here; they (people other than tarantino) just don’t write like that anymore. it’s too bad.