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| | |-+  First Postman Always Rings Twice adaptation: Le dernier tournant (1939)
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: First Postman Always Rings Twice adaptation: Le dernier tournant (1939)  ( 1941 )
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Posts: 93

« : September 02, 2017, 03:14:19 PM »

Watched via torrent.


* This review may contain spoilers ***

Being just one of a handful of people to attend the screening,I found myself utterly gripped a few months ago by Ivo van Hove's National Theatre Live adaptation of Obsession/The Postman Always Rings Twice. Looking round for movies to watch for a poll on the best films of 1939,I found a review by fellow IMDber dbdumonteil about the first ever filmed adaptation of James M. Cain novel,which led to me excitingly waiting for the postman to arrive.

The plot:

Drifting from town to town, Frank Maurice covers his money issues by being lucky with the roll of a dice at gambling. Stopping at a 24 hour food and drink pub, Maurice is welcomed in by owner Nick Marino and his wife Cora. Not having any friends,Nick invites Maurice to stay on and work as a handyman. Falling for each other at first sight,the passions of Maurice and Cora lead to them making plans over how to kill the "Old man." Planning a fake power cut, Cora hits Nick over the head,and plans a fatal mood,but is interrupted by a visiting police officer. As Cora tries to explain the "accident" to her husband, Maurice begins drifting back into his old ways…

View on the film:

Appearing out of a mirage in the pub, Fernand Gravey gives a magnificent performance as drifting Noir loner Maurice. Stinking of booze,fags and cards,Gravey gives Maurice a shifty presence,which never eases as Maurice's rigid back is constantly up against the wall from the doubting Nick and the ruthlessly seductive Cora. Caught between two deadly lovers, Michel Simon gives a performance bursting with warmth as Nick,who greets Maurice with open arms,that Simon decays into doubt,as all of Nick's kindness gets thrown in his face. Made just before she became a socialite of the Occupation, Corinne Luchaire, (whose dad was Nazi-backing politician Jean Luchaire,whose family enjoyed the good life with the Nazis,until the liberation led to Jean being killed by firing squad,and Corinne being banned from acting,and dying penniless of tuberculosis at 28) gives a magnetic performance as Femme Fatale Cora,with lingering close-ups zoning in on the viper glances Luchaire gives Cora playing all the cards close to her chest.

While Luchaire enjoyed the high life,this became director Pierre Chenal last film in France until 1946,with the Jewish Chenal fleeing France with his wife Florence Marly (who along with starring in Film Noir classics Krakatit and The Damned,co-stars here) for Argentine. Delivering the first adaptation of Cain's novel,Chenal & cinematographer Christian Matras strike a winning number with a cracking evil under the sun Film Noir atmosphere,reflecting the life of Maurice,everything is covered in a dust which gives the Marino's entanglement with Maurice a grubby appearance. Keeping Maurice as an outside, Chenal mischievously curses Maurice with ladders and black cats that are joined by ultra-stylised first person shots cornering him,and never giving Maurice the chance to fully embrace Cora.

Working from a translation of Cain's novel by Sabine Berritz,the screenplay by Charles Spaak and Henri Torrès strike the trio with jagged dialogue,that in moments of calm barely hides the viper poison about to be unleashed. Handing Nick's trust to Maurice,the writers seep Cora and Maurice's harsh pessimism out into the open of the bitter end,as the postman rings twice for the first time.

Chicken Thief
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« #1 : September 03, 2017, 07:04:21 AM »

Sounds like a great film. How do you rank it in comparison to the 1946, 1981 and 1943 (Ossessione) versions of the story? And if I may ask, where is the poll on the best films of 1939 being run?

Jessica Rabbit
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« #2 : September 06, 2017, 05:22:56 PM »

I didn't even know about this version. I too would like to know how you'd rank the different versions.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
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« #3 : September 10, 2017, 11:45:16 PM »

I haven't seen this adaptation, but I do love the early forties Italian version: Ossessione, which I saw on VHS about 10 years ago (twice).

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