The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) Poster


In the mid-'70s, studio executives had mooted Raquel Welch as Cora, but backed off.
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When auditions for this movie were taking place, director Bob Rafelson wrote the name of the actress he thought should be cast as Cora Papadakis and put it inside a sealed envelope. Several months later Rafelson gave the letter to Jessica Lange whose name was inside.
This movie is arguably the first of the 1980s erotic adult thrillers. The picture was soon followed about six months later by Body Heat (1981), like this film, another remake of a film noir, then Fatal Attraction (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992).
This is the fourth version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" novel. The first was French, Le dernier tournant (1939), the second was Italian, Ossessione (1943), and the third in English and American was The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). As such, this 1981 film was the second English language version but was the first version in colour as all three earlier versions were in black-and-white.
Fourth teaming of actor Jack Nicholson and director Bob Rafelson. The earlier films were Head (1968), Five Easy Pieces (1970) and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972). The fifth Man Trouble (1992) and sixth Blood and Wine (1996) would follow.
Meryl Streep rejected the part of Cora.
Elia Kazan was screen tested for Cora's husband.
Jessica Lange screen-tested for the Julia Tate Moon part in the Jack Nicholson directed Goin' South (1978). The role went to Mary Steenburgen.
Theresa Russell turned down the role of Cora.
Apparently, James M. Cain's publishers kept Ossessione (1943), the second version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice", off American screens until 1976 which was only five years before this 1981 movie was made and released.
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After the success of this movie, Butterfly (1982), another filmed adaptation of a novel by 'James M Cain' was made and released the following year. Also released in 1981 was Body Heat (1981) which though not technically a remake of Double Indemnity (1944) (also from the novel by James M. Cain) did reference it considerably. The story and characters closely parallel the earlier film. Ned, Matty and Oscar are Walter, Phyllis and Keyes respectively.
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This movie's title has often erroneously been referred to as The Postman Always Knocks Twice.
Lindsay Crouse screen tested for Cora.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The film is notable for its on the kitchen table sex scene between Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson. The scene was so realistic that many audiences believed that it was real and not simulated sex, a notion denied by the actors. When the scene was shot, the set was cleared. Only director Bob Rafelson and cinematographer Sven Nykvist were present alongside the two actors.

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