|Genre: Classics, Drama, Mystery & Suspense|
Directed By: Tay Garnett
Written By: Niven Busch, Harry Ruskin
In Theaters: 2 May 1946
On Disc/Streaming: 6 Jan. 2004
Runtime: 113 minutes
Box office: $5,086,000
Lana Turner as Cora Smith
John Garfield as Frank Chambers
Cecil Kellaway as Nick Smith
Hume Cronyn as Arthur Keats
Leon Ames as Kyle Sackett
Audrey Totter as Madge Gorland
Alan Reed as Ezra Liam Kennedy
Jeff York as Blair
“The Postman Always Rings Twice” is a 1946 film noir based on the 1934 novel of the same name by James M. Cain. This adaptation of the novel features Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames, and Audrey Totter. It was directed by Tay Garnett. The musical score was written by George Bassman and Erich Zeisl (the latter uncredited).
Frank Chambers (John Garfield) is a hobo who stops at a rural diner for a meal and ends up working there. The diner is operated by a beautiful young woman, Cora Smith (Lana Turner), and her much older husband, Nick (Cecil Kellaway).
Frank and Cora start to have an affair soon after they meet.
Cora is tired of her situation, married to a man she does not love and working at a diner that she wishes to own.
She and Frank scheme to murder Nick in order to start a new life together without her losing the diner.
Their first attempt at the murder is a failure, but they eventually succeed.
Lana Turner plays Cora Smith.
The film shows Lana in an “all-white look.” At the time of the movie it was as controversial a subject as the movie itself. As Cora, Lana was costumed throughout in a stark white wardrobe. The wardrobe was totally white except for two brief instances necessitated by the script. As a dramatic means of conveying mood, Cora is attired in a solid black robe for an early scene where she contemplates suicide with a kitchen knife. Late on in the film, she wears black a second time to attend her mother’s funeral.
Her hair was a snowy white as well, and against a deep suntan she acquired for the role, the effect was startling. At the time Life magazine predicted Lana’s all-white wardrobe would “become historic.” More recently, director Garnett recalled the incentive for this striking conversation piece: “The white clothing was something that Carey Wilson and I thought of. At that time there was a great problem of getting a story with that much sex past the censors. We figured that dressing Lana in white somehow made everything she did seem less sensuous. It was also attractive as hell. And it somehow took a little stigma off everything she did. They didn’t have “hot pants” then, but you couldn’t tell it by looking at hers.”
In 1952, when Lana Turner was asked to select her favorite role for the readers of “The Saturday Evening Post”, she chose Postman’s Cora and gave these reasons: “It may seem strange that I should choose the part of a completely bad woman as my favorite. The fact is, playing a wicked woman makes the audience more aware of you as an actress. This role gave me something to work with. Cora was not the usual heroine … I thought I understood the odd, twisted reasoning that made her yearn for a small piece of property out in the hills – for what she considered respectability and security – and yet, at the same time, led her to do thing which ruined her chance of getting what she wanted.”
“I liked the all-white wardrobe Cora wore and the way she did her hair. But the high point in my enjoyment of this role came after the film was completed. Then James Cain presented me with a leatherbound first edition of “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, bearing the message, “For my dear Lana, thank you for giving a performance that was even finer than expected.”
You can watch the film here.
Lana Turner did a lot of movies. She really loved being a moviestar.
Here are the most important films in which she starred. Just click the links for more info, photos and videos.
20 April 1937: A Star Is Born
9 Oct. 1937: They Won’t Forget
24 Oct. 1937: The Great Garrick
1 Jan. 1938: The Adventures of Marco Polo
22 July 1938: Love Finds Andy Hardy
12 Aug. 1938: Rich Man, Poor Girl
9 Dec. 1938: Dramatic School
28 April 1939: Calling Dr. Kildare
18 Aug. 1939: These Glamour Girls
29 Sept. 1939: Dancing Co-Ed
19 April 1940: Two Girls on Broadway
19 July 1940: We Who Are Young
25 April 1941: Ziegfeld Girl
12 Aug. 1941: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
2 Oct. 1941: Honky Tonk
18 Febr. 1942: Johnny Eager
27 Aug. 1942: Somewhere I’ll Find You
1 April 1943: Slightly Dangerous
19 Aug. 1943: Du Barry Was A Lady
13 Nov. 1943: The Youngest Profession
23 Aug. 1944: Marriage Is a Private Affair
8 March 1945: Keep Your Powder Dry
1 Oct. 1945: Week-End At The Waldorf
2 May 1946: The Postman Always Rings Twice
5 Nov. 1947 : Green Dolphin Street
1 Nov. 1947: Cass Timberlane
29 April 1948: Homecoming
20 Oct. 1948: The Three Musketeers
1 Sept. 1950: A Life Of Her Own
2 March 1951: Mr. Imperium
5 Sept. 1952: The Merry Widow
25 Dec. 1952: The Bad And The Beautiful
25 Aug. 1953: Latin Lovers
1 May 1954: Flame And The Flesh
7 Sept. 1954: Betrayed
13 May 1955: The Prodigal
4 June 1955: Sea Chase
14 Dec. 1955: The Rains Of Ranchipur
12 Jan. 1956: Diane
13 Dec. 1957: Peyton Place
30 Jan. 1958: The Lady Takes A Flyer
2 May 1958: Another Time, Another Place
30 April 1959: Imitation Of Life
23 June 1960: Portrait In Black
19 July 1961: By Love Possessed
2 Nov. 1961: Bachelor In Paradise
25 Dec. 1962: Who’s Got The Action?
24 Febr. 1965: Love Has Many Faces
27 April 1966: Madame X
30 April 1969: The Big Cube
7 Nov. 1974: Persecution
27 Oct. 1976: Bittersweet Love
31 Oct. 1980: Witches Brew
21 May 1982: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Lana’s biography “Lana, the Lady, The Legend, The Truth“, “The Films Of Lana Turner” by Lou Valentino and “Lana Turner, The Memories, The Myths and The Movies” by Cheryl Crane.