The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Friday, April 18th
Drifter Frank Chambers (John Garfield) ends up at a Twin Oaks roadside diner and gas station. Instantly he loses his breath upon seeing Twin Oaks mistress, Cora Smith (Lana Turner). The longer he stays, the more he is taken into the web of this femme fatale. Cora wants Frank and Twin Oaks, and the only way to have both is to get rid of her husband (Cecil Kellaway). They plan for an accident to befall Nick Smith, planning every detail of the crime. However, as fate would have it the murder doesn’t go off as planned, and the accident attacks the attention of the local district attorney. Their second attempt to get Nick out of their lives succeeds. However, Nick and Cora are torn apart under the strains of an investigation into their involvement with Nick’s death. But, this temporary breakup is far from the end for Frank and Cora.
The influence of Postman written in 1934 by James M. Cain can be seen in a later Cain novel turned film, Double Indemnity. Both films feature a man entangled and brought down by a femme fatale plotting to permanently get rid of her husband. It was because of Paramount’s success with Double Indemnity (1944) that convinces MGM to take this leap into film noir. It was the glamour studios way of featuring their blond-bombshell Lana Turner while keeping within the lines of the censors, and Turner steams up the screen with her pairing with Garfield.
Images from: The Postman Always Rings Twice Dir. Tay Garnett. MGM, 1946. DVD.