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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

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No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: May 2, 1946 Limited

audience

78

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 7,413

My Rating

Movie Info

James M. Cain's novel received its first authorized screen treatment in this MGM production. Drifter Frank Chambers (John Garfield) takes a job at a roadhouse run by slovenly but likeable Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway). Nick's sexy young wife Cora (Lana Turner) takes an immediate liking to Frank, but he senses that she's trouble and he keeps his distance--for a while, anyway. Inevitably succumbing to Cora's tawdry charms, Frank enters into her scheme to murder Nick and claim the old boy's insurance

R,

Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Harry Ruskin, James M. Cain, Niven Busch

Jan 6, 2004

MGM

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (1) | DVD (11)

One of the great cruel jokes in early film noir.

June 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The movie is not a wild river but a humid delta of stagnant frustration and stymied movement, so it's all the more impressive that it's such a gripping spectatorial experience.

February 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

...has little of the insinuating nature of the best film noir.

August 4, 2008 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Whilst the Jack/Jessica version was entertaining it was seemingly only interested in 'pushing the envelope', this film doesn't need to do any of that - and doesn't - it just plays out the story, and that's gripping enough.

May 6, 2005
Moviehole

Part sultry romance, part mystery thriller, the movie continues to keep audiences involved with its edgy character relationships and unforeseen tensions.

January 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Better than the remake

July 25, 2002

A potent noir study of people falling victim to their own desires

June 27, 2002 Full Review Source: All Movie Guide
All Movie Guide

Garfield and Turner electrify; there's no nudity or on-screen sex in the picture, yet the erotic charge between these two is incredibly potent.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

The magic in the film is in the chemical reaction between Garfield and Lana, their performances are sizzling.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

what it lacks in sex it gains in passions of other sorts. It smolders.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) is one of the best film noirs of all time - and one of the earliest prototypes of today's 'erotic thrillers.'

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Audience Reviews for The Postman Always Rings Twice

I wasn't expecting a classic film noir along the lines of "Double Indemnity" or "Out of the Past" when I finally got around to watching The Postman Always Rings Twice, and for awhile, I thought I might have been wrong. Compared to the benchmarks of the genre, I didn't have extra high hopes for this movie. Then my mood brightened when it actually started becoming very engaging. I wasn't being blown away, but I did start getting immersed in the cunning "noir 101" plot. The reviewer who noted MGM's dramatic lighting of Turner is right: it's ridiculous, but it does come with the territory I guess. Other than that, things seemed to be moving in place very smoothly.

Then an odd thing happened. The movie refused to end. It wasn't that the pace was slow, it moved speedily. Something was always happening, and there was plenty of suspense/overblown MGM music blaring out of the speakers at any given moment. But the plot was way too top-heavy. They get caught doing the murder. Okay, time for trial, some final irony, then the movie's over -- only that it isn't. It just kept going. New subplots turned up, bribes, plot twists, double crosses, it just kept happening and happening. It was too much. The problem was, nothing of any substance was given to the events that kept happening. It was like the screenwriters noted "okay, this happened in the book, but we have to trim it a bit, so we'll make a small two minute scene including it in the movie" and suddenly the movie is full of these large occurrences given very brief sketched out screen time. Garfield runs off for a weekend in Tijuana with some random woman? What just happened? Things just grew too implausible.

During the final embarrassing "what does God make of all this" speech to the priest (aren't noirs supposed to be existential?), I happened to look at the video case and glance at the title. Realizing it hadn't been referenced in the movie yet I stared at the screen and muttered "out with it" and in return got some over-reaching ramblings concerning how "he always rings twice, always rings twice" ext. Yikes. The meaning behind the story's title is actually quite fascinating, but you wouldn't know it by the film's explanation.

I have to say though, the movie had some very good irony and employed a load of classic film noir tricks (the final outcome must have influenced the Coen Brothers with "The Man Who Wasn't There"). Garfield and Lana Turner were both outstanding, and walked the opportunistic yet naive line beautifully; however the plot is too dependent on coincidence, and the never ending onslaught of twists for plot twists sake becomes dull after a while. I'd recommend this film to noir buffs and Golden Age MGM fans only.
September 6, 2011
JonathanHutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

"Darling, can't you see how happy you and I would be together here...without him?"

In this steamy collaboration between John Garfield and Lana Turner, Garfield plays a young, aimless vagabond who arrives at a small diner near Los Angeles in his travels, and enters the life of the gorgeous young woman (Turner) and her older husband who own the place. The connection between the young man and woman is immediate, and their desire to be together and own the restaurant leads to a story of murder, deceit, violence, and betrayal.

The Postman Always Rings Twice surprised me with the number of twists, turns, and shifts in tone that it had. The beginning, middle, and end of the movie are all quite different, and the characters go through some radical changes. For fans of Lana Turner, she was never more stunning than she was in this. She was just an absolutely breath- taking woman, and every camera angle and costume she wore seemed designed to highlight her beauty. The movie is almost worth watching for that reason alone.

I thought Postman was good, but not great. The story was interesting, but most of the tension and suspense is in the first part of the movie, which makes the latter half seem a little lacking at times. Still, this was a very watchable thriller, and big fans of Garfield or Turner should consider this a "must see".
November 17, 2010
lewiskendell

Super Reviewer

Another good thriller from the forties, somewhat like a lot of other thrillers, but it has a good cast, it's worth watching.
October 23, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

A film full of wicked people, ugly lawyers, and scheming lovers. Really, there's practically no one here who's sympathetic. It's the sort of story that could've been found in any crime magazine in the 40s and 50s. A drifter (John Garfield) stumbles upon an old diner run by an old man (Cecil Kellaway) and his young, attractive wife (Lana Turner). Just as the old man is completely trusting of his new handyman and his wife, the two are sure to have an illicit affair. But the film doesn't really get rolling until the sleezy lawyers make their way into the story. Hume Cronyn's character knowingly frees a pair of murderers for a measly 100 dollar bet. Like all the best films of the crime genre, we the audience are voyeurs into the lives and minds of criminals, and through the film, we vicariously commit acts we could never be allowed to get away with in real life. When the criminals do get their just desserts in the end, we can sit back piously and thankfully say they get what they had coming.
March 6, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

    1. Madge Gorland: It's a hot day. And that's a leather seat, and I got a thin skirt.
    2. Frank Chambers: I'll cool it off for you!
    – Submitted by Walter M (2 years ago)
    1. Frank Chambers: With my brains and your looks, we could go places.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Wenn der Postmann zweimal klingelt (DE)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) (UK)
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