Ossessione - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ossessione Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2016
Visconti's first film is a marvellous fatalistic work that goes beyond the crime thriller genre conventions it employes to tell its story. It is an adaptation of Cain's novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, but unlike the more straightforward adaptations of the film by Hollywood, it manages to go much deeper in character development and social commentary. It also manages to create an aesthetic quality that anticipates neorealism and enriches the plot with details that give the film a slower pace but elevate the story's themes to existential sophistication. Notably, the additional sub-plot with the 'Spaniard', apart from the possible homo-erotic elements, gives to Gino (Massimo Girotti) a dillema between two ways of life: bohemian freedom and an almost christian loving of others in need (he buy's Gino a ticket for free) on the one hand, and Giovanna's conformist worldview that seeks money and a place to stay on the other. However, Visconti never judges his characters in a moralizing manner. The wonderful and raw performances by Massimo Girotti and Clara Calamai help a lot in creating such believable characters and not simply one-dimensional cliches such as those we can see a lot in later Hollywood film noirs. Here there is no femme fatale, who plots in the darkness like a spider; Giovanna is simply a woman. Her machinations are simplistic and flawed and she tries hard to keep the relationship going after the murder. For example, Visconti cleverly never tells us whether she really knew whether her husband had a life-insurance. Thus, he deliberately passes a chance to make her the mastermind that played Gino for a fool. She has also some touching moments like when she eats in the kitchen alone, reading the newspaper befor falling asleep. Visconti even gives some metaphysical touches in the film, like in the scene where the husband goes outside to kill some noisy cats, while the wind is blowing and the lovers are hugging secretly.
It is wonderful seeing a director finding a voice with his first film. It is a classic; it feels modern and hasn't aged (apart from some conventions like the panning of camera as a seexual metaphor and such). On the contrary, sometimes it feels more raw than new films; and yet it remains poetic and humanistic deep down.
October 6, 2014
A masterful treatment of James Caine's 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' which was based on the Ruth Snyder - Judd Gray murder in 1927... A Masterpiece saved--A daring debut, fusing melodrama, film-noir, and a realistic approach creating The Earliest Attempt at Neo-Realism... You could watch it ten times and still delight in its nuances!!
April 21, 2014
vastly superior to the 1981remake...and for my money more entertaining than the turner/ garfield version ( which is also very good). loved visconti's placing of the action in predominantly rural settings...also, the three leads are perfect in their roles. amazing to think this almost could have been a lost film. highly recommended.....
December 26, 2013
Luchino Visconti is groundbreaking for initiating the Italian neo-realist movement by adapting the famous American novel into this Italian based film, and courageous to achieve this under the Fascist oppression. Featuring the beautiful Italian scenery, Ossessione focused more on the tragedy, rather than the ironical condemnation on morality in the original novel Perhaps this is why it becomes of a neo-realist pioneer, right?
February 25, 2013
Quite something for a debut movie. Very memorable.
October 24, 2012
dragged on for a little too long as I had to watch it in a film class, but the plot was kind of interesting. I just wished they'd get to the point quicker rather than faff about for hours.
October 7, 2012
"Les amants diaboliques"
½ May 3, 2012
I really liked The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), so I expected an Italian version to be pretty good too, and it is. This is quite different in tone - being very Italian and neo-realist, with everyone poor and sad as usual - so plays almost totally differently apart from the main plot thread. Unfortunately, the print is rather grotty in places and the music at times reminded me of The Clangers, but apart from that (especially if you haven't seen the '46 version), there is plenty to keep you interested. A digitally repaired version with better subtitles would be an easy 8/10, but for me, the one I saw was a 7.5/10
December 31, 2011
A haunting tale of greed and desire.
November 14, 2011
I'm simply not a fan of the story, although this is the best version of The Postman Always Rings Twice I've seen.
½ September 11, 2011
In the 1946 adaptation with Garfield and Turner, Hollywood would prove rather too hung up on the sex and death - the more sensational, saleable aspects of Cain's potboiler - to give much consideration to its characters' relations outside the sack. Visconti, in contrast, gives it the full, 140-minute epic treatment, shifting between locations (roadside, town, riverside exile), and in doing so allowing these individuals, sculpted from pulp, to grow before your eyes... Without ever threatening to glamorise them, Visconti makes these miseries rich and resonant - which is why, for all the liberties his film takes with its source, and no matter that it comes no closer to resolving the issue of whom we're meant to be rooting for, this continues to stand as the most complete and enthralling treatment of this material.
½ September 5, 2011
"Ossessione" is a good adaption of James M. Cain's novel, "The Postman Always Rings Twice" however, I don't think this Italian version quite lives up to the 1946 American classic. Drifter Gino (Girotti) stops at a diner on the way to who knows where, where he meets beautiful and young Giovanna (Calamai) and her older, brutal husband. The two fall in love instantly (what a shock), and intend to run off together. The problem is, is that Giovanna feels guilty about leaving her spouse, so the two scheme a plan to murder him, and then live happily ever after. Things don't go as planned of course, and Gino and Giovanna aren't the way they thought they'd be. "Ossessione" was acclaimed Italian director Luchino Visconti's film debut, after working with another acclaimed director Jean Renoir for many years. Of course he knew what he was doing. Everything about this movie is top-notch, from the seedy looking set designs to the creepy score, plus the strange actor's pick to play the not-so-usual lovers. Of course, I much prefer the American version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" to this. I think one of the reasons I didn't love "Ossessione" as much as the latter, is the fact that I was just comparing it so much to its American counterpart. Everything, from the casting of Lana Turner and John Garfield as the lovers to the smoky atmosphere just fits better. Visconti seems to have tried to really make this movie as realistic as possible, and though in the long run it is impressive, the side-plots make the film overlong, and don't really cut to the chase as the other version does. The 1946 film really makes the affair between Turner and Garfield sizzle, and they have better chemistry than Calamai and Girotti (C was 9 years older than M). The only thing wrong with the '46 one is the casting of the victim but that is all. All in all, "Ossessione" is well-made, but it doesn't have the same spark that 1946's "The Postman Always Rings Twice" does.
August 15, 2011
The seeds of Neorealism are widely seen through this film capturing the Life in a distant Village
July 17, 2011
Is it the first neo-realist flick, or the first Giallo? Who gives a shit, its just a mighty fine adaptation of 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' done in that Italian style that i crave on a daily basis. It is however interesting to consider its troubled production and release under the fascist regime. Visconti concentrates on the character development throughout which is imperative to the narrative and the themes of sexual obsession and murder amongst others. Classic Italian cinema.
July 5, 2011
Luchino Visconti's Ossessione is the italian adaption of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice. Well I'm not a big fan of the american adaptions and this is surley nothing more special than the others. The only things I found interresting about this film was the use of location, and this was the first neo-realistic movie. But otherwise I feel no affection for this picture. Thumbs Down.
½ April 25, 2011
Visconti'den tasranin merkezine sert bir yolculuk.
½ March 22, 2011
Really liked the Spagnollo character.
½ March 11, 2011
Italian neorealism as melodrama, wife and secret(ish) lover kill husband. Of course we the modern audience have seen that scenario more than once, but WWII era Italy probably had not, I suppose (unless I'm forgetting something which is likely, oh well.)
February 25, 2011
Visconti's version of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice preceded the (first) Hollywood version by about 3 years, but they seem worlds different. The Italian version takes its cues from neorealism (although neorealism like this feels less real and more staged these days) whereas the Hollywood movie is definitely noir. As such, the crime of John Garfield & Lana Turner seems much more pre-meditated than that of Clara Calamai & Massimo Girotti (which in fact happens off-screen, unless I was dozing off). The Italians are more swept up by passion (as opposed to lust) and seem less aware of the financial incentives of the crime, making their fate somehow more romantic/traumatic than existential/traumatic.
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