Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1946) (DVD)
Adapted from James M. Cain's story, the film relolves around the destructive relationship of two lovers whose troubles mount after they do away with her husband.
Even under the heavy censorship of 1946 Hollywood, Lana Turner and John Garfield's libidinous desires burn up the screen in Tay Garnett's adaptation of James M. Cain's torrid crime melodrama. Platinum blond Turner is Cora, a restless sexpot stuck in a roadside diner married to mundane middle-aged fry cook Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway) when handsome drifter Frank (Garfield) blows her way. It's lust at first sight, a rapacious desire that neither can break off, and before long they're plotting his demise--but in the wicked world of Cain nothing is that easy. Garnett's visual approach is subdued compared to the more expressionistic film noir of the period, but he's at no loss when he films the luminous Turner in her milky-white wardrobe. She radiates repressed sexuality and uncontrollable passion while Garfield's smart-talking loner Frank mixes street-smart swagger and scrappy toughness with vulnerability and sincere intensity. Costar Hume Cronyn cuts a cold, calculating figure as their conniving lawyer, a chilly character that only increases our feelings for the murderous couple, victims of an all consuming amour fou
that drives their passions to extremes. --Sean Axmaker