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Ossessione
Ossessione
Actors: Clara Calamai, Massimo Girotti, Dhia Cristiani, Elio Marcuzzo, Vittorio Duse
Director: Luchino Visconti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2002     2hr 20min

Passion turns deadly in this controversial neo-realist classic from acclaimed director Luchino Visconti (Death in Venice), adapted from James M. Cain's "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Beautiful hotel owner Giovanna ("Dee...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Clara Calamai, Massimo Girotti, Dhia Cristiani, Elio Marcuzzo, Vittorio Duse
Director: Luchino Visconti
Creators: Aldo Tonti, Domenico Scala, Luchino Visconti, Mario Serandrei, Libero Solaroli, Alberto Moravia, Antonio Pietrangeli, Gianni Puccini, Giuseppe De Santis, James M. Cain, Mario Alicata
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/16/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/1943
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1943
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 2hr 20min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

The REAL version
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 08/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Yes, this IS the best filmed version of James Cain's classic The Postman Always Rings Twice. The first version, with Lana Turner and John Garfield, was much too tame and polite. When the husband gets bumped off, it's a matter of fact event, as though the two lovers were going out shopping for wallpaper. And the eroticism of the story is just not there at all--nor is the desperation.The 1981 version with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange certainly showed off the sexuality of the story, but was much too vapid and superficial; the director, Bob Rafelson, had apparently decided that the story's core was its sexuality and so focused on that at the expense of pretty much everything else. The desperation that should be brimming over in the development of the story is really not in evidence in this version--the two good looking leads basically just want to have sex a lot and that's what they do. They yell and scream, too, but it's the sex that everyone remembers in this film.But Luchino Visconti, in this 1943 Italian neo-realist noir, gets it just right. Eroticism is here, but so is desperation, which is just as important, if not more so. This comes through so well because the setting is a small Italian village where there are no really wealthy folks. Everybody's engaged in his or her small activities to get by. The one exception is Giovanna's paunchy husband Giuseppe who's squirreled away a lot of dough.And the desperation comes through in the doomed couple--Gino the drifter and Giovanna, the wife. Gino's labile temper and emotionality are well portrayed by Massimo Girotti, and Clara Calamai balances Girotti's performance with her depiction of Giovanna as a wife desperate to be free of her gross (to her) husband. The story introduces characters and situations that epitomize Italian culture--an opera singing contest, for example--but follows Cain's story closely enough to make this an early film noir, albeit a non-American one.Even above eroticism and desperation, the overriding tone of this story is irony--unquestionably missing in the first American version, and only half-heartedly on display in the 1981 version. But irony is the soul of this film. The tragic ending is the most bitterly ironic scene here, and it is done simply--thus, very effectively. Visconti was intelligent enough to see that simplicity, combined with an emphasis on strong emotionality, would carry this ironic story through to its supremely ironic ending. This is a surprisingly strong film for a first directorial effort, and one that should be remembered for some time to come. It's interesting that a non-American director made the best cinematic version of a seminal American noir story."
Il Postino always rings Twice
Randy Keehn | Williston, ND United States | 12/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is difficult to review this movie without comparing it to "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (TPART). That's because both are based on the same novel by James Cain. I had heard of "TPART" for years before I finally saw it for the first time earlier this year. My impression was that it was a good movie but, having waited anxiously for so long to see it, it was something of a let down. Last night I was tired and looked forward to watching a good movie. I chose "Ossessione" but almost changed my mind when I saw it was based on "TPART". After all, I'd recently seen that and didn't think it such a great story to see again so soon. Fortunately, I gave the movie a try and was quickly absorbed into it.

What seperates "Obsessione" from "TPART" is the quality of the acting and the excellence of the directing. There is a feeling to this movie that is lacking in the John Garfield/Lana Turner version. We seem to know what everyone is thinking and feeling without depending on obvious dialogue. There is a series of scenes, for example, involving a character by the name of Spangnolo who becomes involved with Gino, the male lead. There are any number of ways that you can interpret him and his relationship with Gino. From fellow vagabonds to a political theorist and his understudy to homosexual lovers. Visconti gives us so many subtle hints that it's up to the viewer to decide for themselves (disappointedly, I assumed the latter relationship). The way everyone interacts with one another is so impressively done and the passions they emote really reach out and touch us. The fact that it is in Italian doesn't hurt its' passionate nature. I have a theory about foreign language movies; they require your constant attention since you don't want to risk missing a critical subtitle. As a result, we come away more focussed on every aspect of the movie and this tends to make good movies even better.

I don't want to disparage "TPART" since it is a good movie. However, "Ossessione" stands so much taller in so many ways that I'm not sure I'll ever feel the need to watch "TPART" again. Take that as praise for "Ossessione" rather than a knock on "TPART"."
Best movie version of "Postman"
LGwriter | 07/02/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this movie years and years ago and still remember it fondly. It's an italian version of James Cain's "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and in my opinion, the best of the three. It manages to get the right mix of lust and noir that make this genre great. END"
FATALISTIC NEO-REALISM.....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 11/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Early Italian version of James M.Cain's "Postman Always Rings Twice" by Luchino Visconti is the best I've seen. Set in a sparse Italian village in the white heat of summer, a drifter named Gino begins an affair with Giovanna, the unhappy wife of a cafe owner who offers him work. She tries to leave with him but returns to the husband afraid of giving up what little security she has. The drifter continues on the road and takes up with a self-styled King of the Vagabonds who does street shows and happily lives on nothing. The vagabond is attracted to Gino but Gino (who's hungry for more out of life) can't forget Giovanna. Later, Gino's and Giovanna's paths cross again and murder binds them together in a fatal (and ironic) bond. Earthy and stark storytelling as well as excellent cinematography make this a compelling film to watch. The acting is remarkable as is the casual sexual frankness that was off the screen in American films at the time. The utter desperation of the two characters' lives is beautifully realized and is nicely contrasted with the vagabond's existance that he is clearly happy with. The ending is unforgettably done. "Ossessione" is rich with atmosphere and detail and laden with irony. Highly recommended as a vintage classic of Italian cinema."