"The Postman Always Rings Twice", Criterion Channel and Lana Turner
BLOG: “The Postman Always Rings Twice” Criterion Channel
The Criterion Channel app has a lot of work to do on the app side. The experience is about as straight-forward as you can get, but any meaningful searches seem to be out of reach in its current state. Additionally, much of what they serve up are ‘collections’ or ‘series’ - which make sense, but you’ll have to sort through trailers and periphery content to get to the actual film.
To make up for this, I shifted over to the browser, logged in there, and then selected films to ‘My List’. Then, when I’m on Roku or on my phone, it’s as easy as exploring that list than trying the painful searching.
While exploring the Lana Turner collection, I immediately gravitated to 1946’s The Postman Always Rings Twice. I’ve never seen it before and I did not know much about Lana Turner, except for her much later work in Falcon Crest, which I was a big fan of as a child.
The film follows the 1934 novel of the same name, written by James M. Cain. In it, Frank, a drifter, falls into employment with the friendly Nick, who owns a modest roadside cafe. Frank meets Nick’s smoking hot wife, Cora, and the two eventually plot a way to start a new life together. No spoilers, but let’s just say, there appears only one way for Cora to take over the diner and be free to be with Frank. It may feel a paint by numbers story of murder and betrayal, but the pacing and the characters tell a story that is not as simple. The ending was a bit of a surprise for me.
Lana Turner’s Cora is steamy and relentless. Now I understand the allure for a star in her prime. Lana can be vulnerable - wet eyed and breathy - and then cold as ice. Lana was a pin-up in her youth, and the director Tay Garnett, took advantage of lighting and outfits to really drive the femme fatale, film noir message home.
All in all, an extremely engaging film and one worth watching. The value of the Criterion Channel is you are assured the highest possible curation of the film - so I’m never disappointed in the quality of the version they use.