Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Movie Night:"The postman always rings twice"

Recommended Posts

I think this is easily Lana's best film, she's perfect for it, and sure,

I perceived a subtle sense of trashiness in her demeanor-(which I suspect could be just Lana's and not only Cora's).

Oh definitely, Lana always had a taste for all kinds of trash (including some good trash...), and is nevertheless totally glamorous. I think the movie is great too. Lange can't possibly convey the half-dizziness and nymphomania that Lana can--she's too work-ethic and Midwestern and proper in her own way. Lana is mainly proper in her hair and her clothes (at all times, too! Bette Davis always claimed that Lana was the only one who had to look perfect onscreen and off, and she truly was one of the most incredible creatures I ever saw in real life.)

Link to comment

I can think of a lot of adjectives to describe Lana Turner, but "upscale" isn't one of them. As I remember the movie, she was surprisingly good at quotidian activities like washing the dishes and least persuasive doing the sex bomb thing. I wish I had enjoyed the movie as much as you did, cubanmiamiboy. The movie is entertaining in a good-bad way, but it has little of the clammy desperation that animates these characters, possibly because their surroundings, instead of being hopelessly dingy, look far too spiffy and have that studio-bound artificiality that afflicted many of even the best movies of the golden age; even drifter Garfield arrives in a snappy number and Turner's outfits speak for themselves. It all goes on too long, and thank goodness that Hume Cronyn and Leon Ames are around to pick up the slack. Garfield and Turner get stronger towards the end, as well.

It's been a long time since I saw the remake, which tried much harder for naturalism in some respects, but it wasn't a better movie. Lange was beautiful and hot, without glamor, and of course she could act. Nicholson I remember was certainly untidy enough, but there was nothing appealing about him at all, he was only marginally more attractive than Cora's greasy hubby, and you couldn't help thinking that she could do better if she just held out for another drifter to drift by. The sex scenes were indeed graphic but gained little thereby. I also remember something about Anjelica Huston and a tiger, or maybe it was a lion.

Link to comment

mmmmm....yes...as Kate Bush would say ('The Sensual World'). Great clips, very amusing with the campy song on top. Love the cigarette scene, and she and Garfield do make a hot duo. Do you think Lana was a Closet Heterosexual or something? Oh my god she is gorgeous.

She and Stompanato should have made a movie instead of getting involved with the violence. Just think how much more immortal than a seamy murder trial!


smokin', eh?

You can see why they both had some trouble 'just saying no'.

Link to comment

Just curious, but...did they used the same kitty-causing-the-blackout plot for the first intended murder in the remake...?

I think so, cubanmiamiboy, but it's been a really long time. Visconti did his own version, Ossessione, but I've never seen it.

Link to comment

Just curious, but...did they used the same kitty-causing-the-blackout plot for the first intended murder in the remake...?

I think so, cubanmiamiboy, but it's been a really long time. Visconti did his own version, Ossessione, but I've never seen it.

l'Ossessione is worth seeing, but I think the Lange/Nicholson is good too, just not mysterious the way the old one is. Noir is always better when it seems to come straight out of the 40s or 50s, and I think all the versions of 'Farewell My Lovely' are good too.

I think I like Lange better in things like 'Country' and 'Crimes of the Heart', she was excellent in those, and maybe 'Frances', even though the facts were ignored. I don't like the clips of her as Blanche Dubois at all, that is the kind of thing I don't think she's good at, and I just saw she had done a 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' too, I've never seen that, though.

Link to comment

There's an even earlier version than Visconti's, that of Pierre Chernal, "Le dernier tournant," with Corrine Luchaire and Fernand Gravey - and Michel Simon! The first meeting scene:

And below is a clip from the very Jean Renoir-influenced - with great tracking shots and counterpoint of landscape - "Ossessione." Mira Liehm says Renoir gave Visconti a translation of the book. Visconti had worked for Renoir, and Guiseppe deSantis, the lead writer, was also a great fan of Renoir. Moravia worked on a version of the script, which was broadened over that of the book and influenced by the ideas of Italian novelists Cesare Pavese and Elio Vittorini (in the character of the Spaniard according to Liehm). Some of the scenes, especially the Po River scenes, lead to early Antonioni, especially "Il Grido"(as I remember it).

The meeting scene is about 3:30 minutes in - but the first shots, one handheld, one that tracks sideways and up over the truck, are pretty thrilling.


Link to comment

Good clips, Quiggin, thanks. Ms. Luchaire more like Madeleine Ozeray as Julie in 'Liliom', not at all alluring in this kind of clandestine sense. Garvey very good though. I hadn't known about this.

Agree about the opening of 'L'ossessione' with the truck and the music (but even after he gets out of the truck, the 4 men together, that's all great), made me wonder if Hitchcock/Hermann liked those opening credits to pull the Janet Leigh windshield wipers in the storm in 'Psycho', do you think so?

Clara Calamai and Massimo Girotti are both good, but the 'meeting scene' is a much more long-drawn-out affair, and improves as the movie progresses. It's not the instantaneous understanding that Garfield and Turner have.

I'd still say Lana's sultriness with Garfield wins out in spades, this is, after all, an American genre primarily, even though I've seen festivals at Film Forum of 'london noir', and such things. I know there must be some successful French and Italian noirs (and 'Ossessione' is if you forget that it's from an American original), but the only one that always stands up the way the American ones do is 'Rififi', and the 'Mado' character (Marie Sabouret) is more like what I see the Cora part (or the 'giovanna' part) than either of these European actresses. Ms. Calamai is good, but it seems a different story somehow. Mr. Girotti is excellent.

Link to comment


... if Hitchcock/Hermann liked those opening credits to pull the Janet Leigh windshield wipers in the storm in 'Psycho', do you think so?

Yes, very much so, the tone and everything. Corrine Luchaire reminded me of Barbara Stanwyck just when she first came in. I think the movie works between the three actors - Visconti admired it - but it's very thirties French and the rooms seem the same rooms in all the movies, with a movie set quality to them. That most thankfully changed when Robert Bresson, and then the New Wave, came on the scene.

The open scenes of "Ossessione" are great - they take in the whole world, and much of its social makeup at that time. The lens is wide-ish, like the early pictures Cartier-Bresson did in Spain. And when I looked at the scenes with the umbrella seller, I was reminded of "La Strada" [corrected from Nights of Cabiria] and the Richard Basehart character.

Yes, these are different movies and the American one does seem, in the parts I've caught here and there, to really give the trapped mood best - the lighting, the tighter lens angles help. The Lana Turner is a bit too flat or too predictable for me - I don't see any place where she expands or relaxes her character outside a strict outline.

Girotti is indeed excellent ... and does get more interesting in the later scenes along the beach.

Link to comment
Visconti did his own version, Ossessione, but I've never seen it.

Ossessione was caught up in a lot of legal wrangling due to what James M. Cain and his publishers (probably quite rightly) saw as copyright infringement. For a long time, it was notoriously difficult to get a copy of it in the U.S. Now of course with the wonders of youtube...

I can't be objective on the Garnett's Postman or Ossessione, having watched each multiple times in the course of a couple of weeks for a film class in college. Although the story is superb, I don't think Postman stands up well against other American noirs of the period, though. Ossessione is excellent, though, and I saw that as someone who has struggled to stay away through pretty much every other Italian neo-realist film I've ever seen.

Link to comment
One of the reasons I stopped going to film classes was because they made you watch movies like Postman over and over, as if they where holy writ.

I don't think my professor thought that Postman was holy writ, but she was interested in questions of how Cain's novel had been adapted in different forms, hence the repeated viewings of Postman and Ossessione. (Actually, I don't think anyone thinks of Garnett's Postman as holy writ. I think the de facto holy writ of noir is probably something more like Double Indemnity).

The movie that seemed to be holy writ in my film studies was Battleship Potemkin which seemed to pop up in every single film class. My brother has this theory that film professors turn to Potemkin out of laziness. Since Eisenstein was such a prolific author and wrote so exhaustively about his filmmaking technique, it's just easy to use as an example of so many aspects of filmmaking and theory.

Link to comment

True but, they could also turn to it because it's a great movie and holds up, even if not all of it is up to the Odessa Steps sequence, which is almost too famous. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, another film class staple of yore, is terrific, too, and I'd prefer either of them to your average noir no matter how highly praised. But then I didn't much care even for Double Indemnity, so there you go.

Link to comment

sidwich, I'd agree that 'Double Indemnity' is more 'holy writ' that 'Postman Only Rings Twice' by a long shot. Quiggin thought Corinne Luchaire reminded him of Stanwyck in 'Double Indemnity', but Stanwyck is so much grittier and tougher, to my mind. And, to me, that's Stanwyck's best picture and performance; I recall moments of it very frequently. I like Garnett's film quite a lot because the atmosphere is very singular, it's not quite a real place, and not supposed to be, the characters aren't supposed to be realistic in noir anyway, at least in the sense that it's always meant to be 'romantic-sinister', with criminality involved.

I suppose the most 'holy writ' of noirs is 'Chinatown', Robert Towne's legendary script, even though it's referred to as a 'neo-noir'. I think its reputation is deserved, and that it's one of the greatest films ever made; and 'Double Indemnity' and 'Chinatown' are always in my Top 10 Favourite Films.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...