The Postman Always Rings Twice

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In many ways a more striking reading of Cain's novel than the Rafelson remake, even though required to pussyfoot on the sexual side. With the opening shot of a sign announcing 'Man Wanted', and Turner's first appearance heralded by a lipstick teasingly rolling across the floor to Garfield's feet, no bed is needed to show what she is selling. A drifter passing through, paralysed by her black widow sting, Garfield becomes a man without a will, immobilised in the bleak little California backwater and gradually mired in a cesspit of lust, betrayal and murder that turns too late into love. The plot gathers slack latterly; but this is only a minor flaw in a film, more grey than noir, whose strength is that it is cast as a bleak memory in which, from the far side of paradise, a condemned man surveys the age-old trail through sex, love and disillusionment.

Release details

Rated: PG
Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tay Garnett
Screenwriter: Harry Ruskin, Niven Busch
Cast: Lana Turner
John Garfield
Cecil Kellaway
Hume Cronyn
Audrey Totter
Leon Ames
Alan Reed
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