The Postman Always Rings Twice

“Lana Turner impersonated a femme fatale not unlike Stanwyck's (Double Indemnity) in a similar story, The Postman Always Rings Twice, directed by Tay Garnett, based by Harry Ruskin and Niven Busch on the novel by James M. Cain, already adapted for the screen twice before: as Le Dernier Tournant (Pierre Chenal, 1939) and Ossessione (Visconti, 1942). Cold and hard in brilliant high key lighting, Garnett's film captured Cain's atmosphere as perfectly as Curtiz's Mildred Pierce: in this story of a girl in a roadside cafe (Lana Turner) who seduces a ne'er-do-well (John Garfield) and induces him to murder her husband (the estimable Cecil Kellaway) the tension is drawn very tight. Lana Turner, almost always dressed in ironical white, introduced when she drops her lipstick case to the floor in a memorable sequence, is cleverly directed to suggest a soulless American ambition; and Garfield, tense, nervous, unwillingly drawn into the web of crime, makes an excellent foil. This is the perfect film noir, harsh and heartless in its delineation of character, disclosing a rancid evil beyond the antiseptic atmosphere of the roadside dinery.” --“Hollywood in the Forties”

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