Entertainment

The Postman Always Rings Twice

by Ed Tapper
Contributor
Tuesday Nov 13, 2012
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The tale of an itinerant hitchhiker led down the road to ruin by a beautiful, ambitious femme-fatale, the 1946 film "The Postman Always Rings Twice" is considered an archetypal film noir. Three years earlier, James M. Cain’s novel was filmed by the gay director Luchino Visconti. In "Ossessione," the hero temporarily escapes his feminine captor and engages in an implicit relationship with another man. Naturally, this extended section was truncated in the Hollywood version, replaced by a two-minute sequence in which the hero briefly finds work outside of Twin Oaks, the roadside diner owned by the seductive Cora and her oafish husband. Although a decent remake was produced in 1981, the original black-and-white version retains its dark, savage power.

Much of the success of "Postman..." rests in the molten, sexual chemistry generated by stars John Garfield and Lana Turner. This is a tribute to their acting skills, since, in real life, they disliked each other. The wild child of the MGM lot, the aloof but intense Garfield was ideally cast. In the first significant dramatic role of her career, Lana, gives a fine performance. Among the able supporting cast is Hume Cronyn, who is terrific as a sleazy shyster.

"Postman..." is now being released on Blu-ray. Warner Brothers is offering a beautiful print of the film, and the high-def visuals are often impressive. However some of the grainier shots are not alleviated by the new format. The overall quality is marginally better than the DVD. There are several special features included, all previously released.

"...the success of "Postman..." rests in the molten, sexual chemistry generated by stars John Garfield and Lana Turner.

A distinct advantage of this new Blu-ray is that it includes the definitive TCM documentaries on both "Postman..." stars. The Lana feature is co-hosted by her daughter Cheryl. As a drama, "Postman..." pales beside Lana’s own story. Likewise, the excellent Garfield documentary is hosted by his daughter, Julie.

At a preorder price of $15., the new "Postman..." Blu-ray is a bargain. An alternative is, the TCM "Murder Mysteries" set, which includes a fine DVD transfer as well as the Garfield feature, "The Maltese Falcon," "The Big Sleep" and "Dial M for Murder"...at a far cheaper price!

The Postman Always Rings Twice
Blu-ray
$19.99
www.warmerblu.com

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