The Postman Always Rings Twice Reviews
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.
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".
garfield plays frank chamber, who is an aloof vagabond with a persistant living philosophy of emancipation which means he's reluctant to get restrained by anything or anyone and always on the anxiety to run when his feet get itches to go to places, briefly a rebel of temporality. chamber could manage himself fine until he encounters the cool insouciant bombshell who happens to be his new employer's wife whose shrewd individuality could rival his, and the moment he sees her carelessly awaiting him to pick up her lipstick then implictly command him to bring it forth, he's determinated to conquer this woman of lofty pride.
turner would be cora smith, married to an elder obsese kind-faced resteraunt-owner nick smith, who is mindless enough to neglect his young wife. eventually chamber filtrates into her heart with gradual convictions of his wits. so to seek an outlet without costing her future ease, cora persuades frank into murdering nick...it fails..then nick intends to sell the store and demands his young wife to sacrifice her youth attending his paralyzed bed-ridden sister, so they co-scheme to murder nick for a second time. somehow karma has its own deployment to serve the justice right even god has to ring twice for them to get the message.
"postman always rings twice" is a success of dialogue-driven drama which vitalizes the whole movie, and also the comic sense of absurdity is another cynic pleasure for the noir fonders, such as the scenrios of cat getting electrified to fail the murder, chamber suing cora in panic, the bet between district attorney and lawyer and the falsified confession...etc. lots of plot twists to relish your taste of sarcastic mockery. further, the two leads are written with an empathetic affinity to the audience. there's no absolute evil in them but momentary volunerability of human flaws.
there's also some moral dubicity in the leads which titilates the audience: first of all, frank and cora do it for the sake of love, and they're naive enough to believe in it. besides cora does attempt to resist chamber but her sappy husband nick is foolish enough to encourage her to dance with chamber along the juke box...chamber does hesitate to slaughter nick but the desperation of love veers him forward. chamber is an asserted loner surrenders to the fatal love of blonde bombshell. so the man is not wimpishly weak and the woman is not devilishly heartless to fit into the noir stereotype of feminine guile and effeminate strengthlessness.
another peculiar trait to emphasize its moral relativism is lana turner's wardrobe which is all purgatorily white-colored which is to brighten or to contrast the gloomy aroma of murder and destruction...it's like insidious con lurking beneath the seemingly innocent surface, a lily blossomed thru a sinful rot of adultery. at the particular scene when cora lures frank into murdering nick, turner's eyebrows raise unevenly as the ominous sign which is an accomplishment of the cosmetic department. most of all, the characters of cora and frank do possess some ingenuine childlikeness and the chesmistry of good timing to confront the crooked blackmail, man beats the con, woman swift enough to point a gun as defence...a perfect screen team.
the best adavantage of "postman always rings twice" would its justified moral lesson without being moralistically preachy, and the leads are convingingly degenerated characters of likability without the contrived harshness which populates in this gendre of film noir.
The postman always rings twice is not what you'd call anything groundbreaking in the classic film genre but it is a very good film at that and really did help make Film noir a much darker and more sinister setting than it was. I really liked the energy that the story had and I liked the plot of it as well but the acting on Garfield's part really wasn't all that( even for the 40's it was bad.) Bu Lana Tuner turns in a fantastic performance with a weak leading man to fall on. This film's story today is nothing new but it does feel fresh and inviting and very engaging, it's kinetic in the way it plays out and it feels oh so good to watch it play out it's foreboding and mysterious and you love to watch Garfield and Turner play off each other and they do it oh so well.
If there is anything that save this film it's itself. The film saves itself from falling into a boring melodrama of seduction and murder that was seen all the time in the 40's, The postman always rings twice Is a quintessential film to see and if you love film noir and classic's this has to be on your watch list. All in all The postman delivers.
It's important to mention thee novel because as the movie has become the quintessential film noire movie, the moniker, or at least part of it, has been back referenced to the genre of Cain's work.
The popularity of the novel at the time can be seen by the fact that the movie starred two of the biggest names in Hollywood: Garfield and Turner. Generally, noire films seek to capture the desperateness of less than ordinary people trying to overcome the claustrophobia of their lives. only to find their actions worsening their situations. As one of the progenitors of the genre, The Postman Always Rings Twice doesn't quite convey the same message that Cain was trying to make. The fault lies mainly in Turner and Garfield and the film's director's attempt to grandstand them. It's hard to imagine Garfield as the itinerant drifter seeking work only to be caught up in a love triangle gone horribly wrong. As the object of his love, Turner is more than qualified maybe too qualified. It's hard to imagine her as the wife of a relatively unattractive owner of a road side eatery. That was the crux of the novel actually, Chambers wanting to know how a woman like Cora could be stuck where she was, and wasn't he, Chambers, a better man for her. Nevertheless, Cora was still a bit ordinary and the point being made that blind love can sometimes enhance or exaggerate the object of affection's value well beyond it's actual value. Turner being already maxed out doesn't go through that transition.
There certainly is a sexist vein to the movie in the objectifying of woman, which neither the novel or movie makes any attempt to justify. I don't know how Cain felt about this rendition of his novel, he had a hand in writing the screenplay, but my assessment is that it is an essential movie in the genre and if you're interested in this type of film it's a must see, in spite of it's faults.
That said, this was a really well-made adaptation of the source material and I'm happy to finally mark it off my film noir viewing list.
In The Postman Always Rings Twice, drifter Frank Chambers (John Garfield) gets a job as a small diner run by Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway). When he meets Nick's attractive wife (Lana Turner), he soon wants to have a sexual relationship with her. They soon plot to kill off Nick so they can get married and claim his insurance policy. The plan works well, but with the law on to them, can the two lovers manage to escape their crimes?
The film also stars Hume Cronyn as crooked judge Arthur Keets.
I really wanted to like this film. I really did. The casting of Lana Turner and John Garfield is brilliant, especially Turner, who's pretty attractive, while a sick and twisted woman. The chemistry comes off as the best thing in the film. I also liked the thrills in the film, particularly in the killing scenes.
If I liked these scenes, then what's wrong with the film? Well, besides the awful film title, it seemed to me like the film director was attempting to knock Alfred Hitchcock by putting crazy plot twists after another. While Hitchcock succeeded in this, particularly in Vertigo, Tay Garnett, however, overdid it on the twists, making the film less convincing. Also, while I was impressed by the performances of Lana Turner and John Garfield and their chemistry was good, the romance, however, wasn't. What didn't help at all was the censorship restrictions during sexual scenes (Back in the day, you could only kiss for 3 seconds). The restrictions really dumbed the film down and makes the romantic scenes dull.
The biggest disappointment in The Postman Always Rings Twice is the ending. While is was predictable that something bad was going to happen to the characters, the way it was presented was a letdown. I'm not going to give it away, but if you've heard the Styx song "Renegade," then you know how it's going to end. While something like this works in a rock song, it fails miserably in a thriller.
I had high expectations for The Postman Always Rings Twice, but I was disappointed, especially in the ending and the many twists and melodrama. The 95% Tomatometer score is a joke. Literally.