The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

TAY GARNETT

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1946.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Screenplay by , , based on the novel by .   Cinematography by .   Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , Cedric Gibbons.  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

One of the best remembered of the crime novels by James M. Cain adapted for the screen, mostly notable for the sexy entrance by newly christened va-va-voom sex symbol Lana Turner.  John Garfield plays a war veteran who takes a job at an off-the-beaten-path service station working for an older gentleman (Cecil Kellaway) with a beautiful young wife (Turner). When the twosome discover the sparks of heat between them (though considering her husband, who wouldn’t she be attracted to under the age of 40?), they decide to do away with the old man and enjoy the benefits of his very profitable business. They come up with a foolproof plan, but it isn’t long before fate gets in their way. The intelligent screenplay does more than just have some ominous moral force get in the way of the lover birds’ plan:  it actually does a good job of corroding their relationship from the inside, with their own jealousies and insecurities doing more harm to each other than any prepackaged tragic ending ever could. This one’s right up there with Laura and Double Indemnity, classics of a genre long gone by.

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