"Postman's plot centers around drifter Frank, and his relationship with the beautiful Cora. Cora and husband, Nick, run the Twin Oaks -- a roadside service station/diner -- and Nick has hired Frank to help around the place. Cora and Nick are May/December, but there is no romance whatsover between them. The reason for their marriage is cryptically revealed during one scene, but, in the end, one never can quite figure out why they are together. Frank and Cora quickly fall for each other and desire a life together -- a desire that requires removing Nick from the picture. The urgency reaches fever pitch when Nick announces his intention to sell the diner and move Cora to nothern Canada where she will care for Nick's recently paralyzed sister, who, in Nick's words, is going to live for a long time. As other reviewers have mentioned, the DA and defense attorney stand out in this film as well-conceived characters, the defense attorney played to perfection by Hume Cronyn. Over the years, Postman has been lauded as perhaps the quintessential piece of film noir -- an intentionally bleak genre that experienced its heyday in the forties and fifties. Although Postman is undoubtedly a precise work of film noir, it's reputation may be based as much on it's mold-shattering relationship with MGM as on its artistic merit. Released by MGM, Postman was so far out of character for the studio that MGM had to borrow John Garfield to cast the leading role. That said, one is hard pressed to envision Frank as having been played by anyone other than Garfield. The same can't be said for Lana Turner's Cora, though. Yet, while other actresses may admirably have filled Cora's sultry shoes, Turner does indeed sizzle in this role. Both Garfield and Turner play their parts to perfection -- their acting is simply terrific. Somehow, though, the chemistry between the two leaves a little something wanting. For me, this was underscored by the instant chemistry that exists between Frank/Garfield and the "other woman" he picks up at the train station during Lana/Cora's absence. That said, the little something that is wanting between Turner and Gerfield contributes, in its own way, to the bleakness of the plot.Technically, the dvd presentation of Postman is quite good. The transfer here is not as pristine as other Warner releases and there are digital artifacts and noise noticeable in many scenes. However, they are not severe enough in effect or number to detract from the film. Although the audio on this dvd is fine, the score for Postman is really just mediocre. Heavy on suspense motifs, one is left feeling as though they've heard much of this music before. The highlight of the dvd is the Garfield documentary that Warner has included as an extra. For fans of the noir genre, and for fans of Garfield in particular, this extra transforms a good dvd into a must-own dvd.All things considered, this is a title for confirmed noir fans, and, for them, it is highly recommended. Even if you're not a noir fan, though, Postman is a work of broader cultural significance and is well worth owning even if its the only noir on your shelf."
Start watching and you won't be able to stop
10za | Alpharetta, GA USA | 03/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great black and white photography
Excellent tension between Garfield and Turner.
If you start watching this film you won't be able to stop.I have always thought Lana Turner is fun to watch but sometimes of I find her performances -over the top- but,
she is pitch perfect in this film. With her whiter than white hair and clothes she seems like the unattainable female. She works in this greasy spoon but she is incredibly groomed and perfectly desirable to the drifter played by John Garfield.My favorite scene is when she and John Garfield leave together the and then decide to return. Lana's character explains her motivations--the dialogue and her delivery seem so real and you sympathize with her character (a woman who plots to kill her husband!)I also like the setting of early Southern California...orange groves and empty beaches.This is a must see film"
The Best and Greatest Movie of Lana Turner
Rama Rao | Annandale, VA, USA | 01/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the classic movies of Lana Turner that no one should miss. Lana Turner herself admitted that this is her career best, and she enjoyed doing this film. Director Tay Garnett fully exploited the youth and beauty of Lana Turner in presenting her to the viewers as young Cora Smith married to a middle aged cook stuck in a roadside diner. The movie revolves around young Cora who refuses to cheat on her husband; slowly but steadily she falls under the seductive influence of a young drifter, and very soon she will be plotting the murder of her husband with her lover. Part of the movie was set near beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica and other parts of Southern California. It is really enjoyable to see the unspoiled beauty of Southern California beaches of mid 1940s. If you are remotely interested in Lana Turner's movies and career; this is the first movie you should be watching."
Kisses With Dreams In Them....
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 09/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lana Turner and John Garfield hunger for something more in Tay Garnett's glossy soap opera noir, "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Based on James M. Cain's lusty potboiler, Turner is fantastic as the manipulative yet vulnerable Cora Smith and Garfield excellent as the drifter who can't get Cora or her dreams out of his blood. Turner is like a white creme, icy cold on the surface but burning hot and deep with desire underneath.
Cora is a girl aware of her looks and effect on men. Since she was 14 she's had to argue with men about it. But she didn't have to argue with Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway), a much older man Cora marries for security, not love. When drifter Frank Chambers (Grafield) shows up to fill the help wanted sign at the Twin Oaks Diner Nick and Cora run, she discovers she can't live without love or passion.
Cora is a smouldering vision in white when Frank first sees her, a room full of gas that only needs a spark to ignite. Frank knows he can sell anything to anybody and begins to fan the flames when he talks Nick into getting a neon sign for the diner Cora wants. Cora has big dreams for the diner and wants to be somebody. She tries in her own way to resist what is going to happen between she and Frank but deep down knows that all the things she married Nick for and clings to are the things she really wants with Frank.
Cora lets him kiss her once then stays away, working Frank into an internal frenzy of desire. After a midnight swim in the ocean they get a week alone and their fate is sealed, the gas ignited and burning out of control. It is Cora who lets Frank's lust simmer until he loves her and wants her so much nothing matters, not even what stands in the way of them and Cora's dreams.
Garfield is excellent as a guy who knows he's signed on for a one way ride to nowhere but can't help himself, because the mere thought of sharing the ride with Cora tips the scales. There is a tricky D.A. (Leon Ames) onto them after a botched first attempt to live out Cora's dreams fails and only a crafty defense attorney, portrayed with zeal by Hume Cronyn, gets Cora off when they finally succeed. But an insurance policy Frank didn't know about causes distrust and the results are Cora and Frank on the outs again.
But they are chained to each other. Jealousy and a blackmail attempt gone awry bring them back to the beach where they were happy. A dangerous swim to prove their trust in each other restores their love and they are happy and dreaming once again. They may be able to atone for their sins even, unless fate has other plans....
Turner gives an icy hot performance here, with many long takes between she and Garfield as they are drawn to each other like moths to a flame. Much is made of director Tay Garnett framing Turner in sexy white outfits throughout the film. Her best scene, however, and the one in which she is the most strikinginly beautiful, she is dressed in a black bathrobe. Cora is in the kitchen caressing a knife and agonizing over her dreams and what needs to be done to make them come true. When Frank walks in on her, her voice catches, her reluctance to follow through real. She tells Garfield in a quivering voice, "If you really loved me."
Whereas Wilder's Double Indemnity was a dark noir of twisted passion and greed set in Claifornia, Garnett's The Postman Always Rings Twice uses the bright sunshine and beaches of L.A. County in the 1940's to create a soap opera noir, a shining blonde Turner and a reluctant drifter Garfield at its center. A must for Turner fans and good pick for fans of this genre who want to watch a glossy noir."
"You won't find anything cheap around here"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You can't wipe murder off our hands; well perhaps you can, especially if you're like the two main protagonists in The Postman Always Rings Twice, an absolutely marvelous movie of dark despair and foggy, murky paranoia. Based on the novel by James M. Cain, the movie is all about the terrible consequences that can result from unchecked desire and obsession.
The sexy John Garfield stars as Frank Chambers, a tough, enigmatic drifter from San Francisco who arrives in the small California town of Twin Oaks. Frank's a pretty rough and tumble sort of guy; he's a little lazy and a bit of a con artist, but he's decent enough and soon he gets offered a job in a diner run by Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway).
Nick is very eager to employ Frank, but Frank initially hesitates, that is, until he meets Nick's much younger wife, Cora Smith (a gorgeous Lana Turner). Cora is a blonde bombshell, a real knockout, first appearing in front of Frank in skimpy shorts, she's even photographed from the legs up. Cora is a teasingly sexy femme fatale, rolling her lipstick towards him in a hesitant dance of seduction, perhaps a promise of what is to come.
The sexual attraction is almost immediate, and as the tension steadily builds, they begin a clandestine affair, taking moonlit swims together, while the affable Nick remains totally unsuspecting of what's going on. Soon Cora confesses to Frank that she doesn't love her husband and she that married Nick to give her a sense of security. Desperately in love, the two decide to run away together by hitching, but Cora decides she doesn't want to start life again with nothing and returns to the diner.
By this time, Frank can't get Cora out of his head, and with both of them feeling ever more trapped, they decide to arrange an accident for her unsuspecting husband. But their plan doesn't quite work; the situation becomes even worse when the local DA (Leon Ames) catches onto them and their evil schemes. The plot takes many twists and turns as Cora and Frank try to outmaneuver the law, Nick, and also a pair of unscrupulous lawyers who are intent to see the sultry couple double-cross and sell out on each other.
Despite the imposition of strict censorship laws, The Postman Always Rings Twice bubbles over with passion, even though much of the sensuality is suggested. And because the censors wouldn't allow any sex or violence, the filmmakers had to imply what was going on, so the film projects an undercurrent of barely disguised passions, sexuality, and murder.
The censorship restrictions also make the performances of Garfield and Turner that much stronger. Relying on sharp dialogue and facial expressions, the actors manage to weave a gorgeous sensual dance together, both lighting up the screen and creating two of the most smolderingly complex characters ever seen in film.
The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classical noir tale of love that just goes disastrously wrong. Lust, deceit, lies, and betrayal inevitably result because the two star-crossed lovers just can't let go of each other and are trapped by their desires. Cora is dreadfully insecure and wants something in life that has always eluded her. And Frank is too caught up in his feelings for Cora to see reason; he's just too weak-minded to see how warped his judgment has become.
The Postman Always Rings Twice was remade in 1981 with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson in the lead roles. I've never seen it, but hearsay suggests that, although it is much steamier (minus the restrictive censorship laws), this version is still far superior, even after all these years. With its edgy character development, it's stylish photography, and with Turner and Garfield as the leads, it is indeed a terrific film and remains a verifiable masterpiece of Hollywood film noir. Mike Leonard July 05. "