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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

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A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband.

Director:

Tay Garnett

Writers:

Harry Ruskin (screen play), Niven Busch (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lana Turner ... Cora Smith
John Garfield ... Frank Chambers
Cecil Kellaway ... Nick Smith
Hume Cronyn ... Arthur Keats
Leon Ames ... Kyle Sackett
Audrey Totter ... Madge Gorland
Alan Reed ... Ezra Liam Kennedy
Jeff York ... Blair
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Storyline

Drifter Frank Chambers arrives at a quiet California roadside restaurant where he meets and falls for drop-dead gorgeous Cora, the wife of restaurant owner Nick Smith. After weaseling his way into a job, the two begin a deadly love affair and cook up plans to end her marriage and start a new life together. After a few botched attempts at a clean break, they are forced to put their honeymoon on hold after being rerouted into the arms of a D.A. hot to convict and a corrupt lawyer with designs on Cora. Frank and Cora thought they packed just enough luck to avoid what should be unavoidable but the duo failed to account for the possible intervention of a formidable force that doesn't need a badge. Written by Mae Moreno

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Book that Blazed to Best-Seller Fame! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 September 1946 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Bar-B-Q See more »

Filming Locations:

Laguna Beach, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,683,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the third version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" novel. The first was French, The Last Turning (1939) whilst the second was Italian, Obsession (1943). The fourth was The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). As such, this 1946 film was the first English language version but was the third version in black-and-white as both earlier versions were not in colour. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene in the new beer garden after the trial, Frank is shown holding a tray with 3 glasses on it, except he is holding the tray at such an angle that the glasses would obviously slide off if they weren't glued in place. See more »

Quotes

[Arthur Keats enters, closes the door]
Cora Smith: If it's the last thing I do, I'll put you out of business. There must be a law, even for lawyers.
Arthur Keats: Of course you know the district attorney fooled you into that confession, don't you? And you fell for it, both of you.
[small hrmph]
Arthur Keats: He planned to get you working against each other. Don't you see?
Cora Smith: You bet I see.
[turning to Frank]
Cora Smith: So when Sackett couldn't get anything out of me, he started in on you, and right away you turned yellow.
Arthur Keats: Yellow? Yellow is a color ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Best! Movies! Ever!: Sex Scenes (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

There is a Tavern in the Town
(pub. 1883) (uncredited)
Traditional
Sung a cappella by Cecil Kellaway and John Garfield
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
books v. movies
7 May 2005 | by zygimantasSee all my reviews

Funny, the comment there about the title - it's the strangest part of the adaptation because at least it IS mentioned in the film, but nowhere in the book. It's an absolute mystery to me how this title made it through intact when great titles like "Farewell My Lovely" were dumbed down to "Murder My Sweet" for the sake of Hollywood audiences. James M. Cain originally submitted the story to Alfred Knopf with the title "BBQ" (which makes sense in context) and was asked to change it; he considered "Black Puma" and "The Devil's Checkbook" before settling on the mystifying title by which the novel and both adaptations are well known.

Anyway, I like the film and think it's a great straight adaptation of the book, though the dialogue in the beginning seems a bit hurried (for the sake of the quick establishment of character and story) - the book does a better job of painting the hobo/gypsy lifestyle Frank embraces, and I think it's pretty central to the eventual conflict between him and Cora, so it's a shame it wasn't better depicted in the film.

Lana Turner is good, but probably just a bit mis-cast - she's a little too "glamorous" for Cora, which is also established immediately in the famous opening shot of her legs and lipstick (in contrast to the book, where she was introduced in an apron, working hard for the business like she always says she wants to.)

One note for femme-fatale buffs: Cora and Nick in the film are surnamed "Smith," which in the book was Cora's maiden name. (Nick in the book was Greek - "Papadakis") Is this a statement on marriage in general, or perhaps a desire to eliminate the racial implications in what happens? Seems unlikely; it is what it is, for smarter people than me to unravel.

"So long mister, thanks for the ride!"


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