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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 2 May 1946 (USA)
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A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband. Once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Audrey Totter ...
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Jeff York ...
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Storyline

Nick Smith, the middle-aged proprietor of a roadside restaurant, hires drifter Frank Chambers as a handyman. Frank eventually begins an affair with Nick's beautiful wife Cora, who talks Frank into helping her kill Nick, by "accident." But the best laid plans...... Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Lana Turner. John Garfield. M-G-Marvelous! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

2 May 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cartero llama dos veces  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James M. Cain also adapted his novel into a play which was performed in New York at the Lyceum Theatre for 72 performances, from 25 February 1936 to April 1936. The cast included Richard Barthelmess as Frank, Mary Philips as Cora, Joseph Greenwald as Nick and Dudley Clements as Sackett, with minor roles by Joseph Cotten and Charles Halton. See more »

Goofs

During the second part of the car tumbling down the mountain, wires connected to the back bumper are visible. See more »

Quotes

Cora Smith: I want to make something of this place, I want to make it into an honest-to-goodness...
Frank Chambers: Well, aren't we ambitious.
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Crazy Credits

Ending credits are shown over the hardcover book of the same name. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Charmed: Charmed Noir (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

She's Funny That Way
(1928) (uncredited)
Music by Neil Moret
Lyrics by Richard A. Whiting
Played on guitar and Sung by Cecil Kellaway
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very oddly structured movie
23 January 2003 | by (Ma) – See all my reviews

I was not expecting a classic film noir along the lines of "Double Indemnity" or "Out of the Past" when I put this movie in, and for awhile, I thought I might have been wrong. Maybe the cover was too cheesy, I'm not sure, but I didn't have extra high hopes for this movie. Then my mood brightened when it actually started to become very entertaining. I wasn't being blown away, but I did start to enjoy the film noir 101 plot. The reviewer who noted MGM's dramatic lighting of Turner is right, it's ridiculous, but it does come with the territory I guess. Other than that, things seemed to be moving in place very smoothly.

Then an odd thing happened. The movie refused to end. It wasn't that the pace was slow, it moved speedily. Something was always happening, and there was plenty of suspense/overblown MGM music blaring out of the speakers at any given moment. But the plot was way too top-heavy. They get caught doing the murder. Okay, time for trial, some final irony, then the movie's over. But it's not! It just kept going. New subplots turned up, bribes, plot twists, double crosses, it just kept happening and happening. It was too much. I was literally standing up sweating by the final scene, wanting it to end so much. The problem was, nothing of any substance was given to the events that kept happening. It was like the screenwriters noted "okay, this happened in the book, but we have to trim it a bit, so we'll make a small 2 minute scene including it in the movie" and suddenly the movie is full of these large occurrences given very brief sketched out screen time. Garfield runs off for a weekend in Tijuana with some random women? What just happened? Things just grew too implausible. I realize that complaining the movie went on too long and claiming that not enough screen time was given to all the events in the second half is hypocritical, but there must have been ways to flesh things out. I haven't read the book, but I suspect it's much better than the movie, just based on other reviewer's comments.

During the final embarassing "what does God make of all this" speech to the priest (hey, I thought film noirs where supposed to be existential!), I happened to look at the video case and glance at the title. Realizing it hadn't been referenced in the movie yet I stared at the screen and muttered "out with it" and in return got some over-reaching ramblings concerning how "he always rings twice, always rings twice" ext. Yikes.

I have to say though, the movie had some very good irony and employed a load of classic film noir tricks (the final outcome must have influenced the Coen Brothers with "The Man Who Wasn't There"), but I can't help believing the book must have been a lot better. I'd chalk this one up for noir completists and Golden Age MGM enthusiasts only.


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