I never doubted this one, either. Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson in 1944's Double Indemnity. So much brilliant dialogue, so many great Los Angeles locations, Fred MacMurray his usual brilliant self--baby boomers weaned on My Three Sons should symbolically kill their ill-kept image of MacMurray's wholesome TV persona after seeing Double Indemnity. I wouldn't want Steve Douglas' pipe-puffing, cardigan-wearing shroud hanging over my thoughts, either.
But above it all, there's Barbara Stanwyck. It's a Billy Wilder film, but it's *her* movie. Here's how the voting went, with a total of 75 votes:
Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity 32 (42%) Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven 18 (24%) Rita Hayworth in Lady From Shanghai 12 (16%) Jane Greer in Out of the Past 10 (13%) Lizabeth Scott in Dead Reckoning 3 (4%)
Some quick takes:
There was some serious competition here, but Babs crushed them all. Manupulative and desperate and just plain twisted, yet you still sympathize with her, despite how evil and remorseless she is. Stanwyck was robbed (as usual) at Oscar time; sorry, Ingrid. Gene Tierney's best-remembered for her role in Laura but she was never better and cast against type as she was in the color noir masterpiece, Leave Her to Heaven. Rita Hayworth's hair was dyed blonde and she utters some seriously disturbing dialogue at the end of Lady from Shanghai. My favorite role of hers and if the film had trimmed some of its excess, it may have been remembered as a masterpiece. Jane Greer in Out of the Past. I love how Greer's personality becomes mean and just plain rotten by movie's end. Lizabeth Scott in Dead Reckoning is fine, but she just wasn't the actress those other women were. It is among my favorite Bogart films, though. I think I'm alone in that claim.