The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981 film)
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|The Postman Always Rings Twice|
|Directed by||Bob Rafelson|
|Produced by||Charles Mulvehill|
|Written by||James M. Cain (novel),|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures (1981 US theatrical)|
Warner Bros. (Current owner)
ITC Entertainment (UK, theatrical)
|Release date(s)||March 20, 1981|
|Running time||122 minutes|
The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1981 film adaptation of a novel by James M. Cain. This version, based on a screenplay by David Mamet and directed by Bob Rafelson, starred Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. The film was shot in Santa Barbara, California.
This film was originally released by Paramount Pictures, but they only distributed the film theatrically, and did not produce the film. Rather, it was produced by Lorimar, who retained ancillary rights to the film up until being sold to Warner Communications in 1989. At that point, all rights to the film went to Warner Bros. - which also owns the original 1946 MGM film, this one through its Turner Entertainment division. Incidentally, MGM actually handled the first video release of the 1981 version, through MGM/CBS Home Video, which had an output deal with Lorimar at the time, which later transferred to CBS/Fox Video when CBS made 20th Century Fox their video partner (Fox now distributes MGM titles on DVD).
Frank, a drifter, stops at a rural California diner for a meal, and ends up working there. The diner is operated by a young, beautiful woman, Cora, and her much older husband, Nick, who is an immigrant from Greece. Frank and Cora have an affair. Cora (a femme fatale figure) is tired of her situation, married to a man she does not love, and working at a diner that she wishes to own and improve. She and Frank scheme to murder Nick in order to start a new life together without her losing the diner. Their first attempt at the murder is a failure, but they eventually succeed.
The local prosecutor suspects what has actually occurred, but doesn't have enough evidence to prove it. As a tactic intended to get Cora and Frank to turn on one another, he tries only Cora for the crime. Although they do turn against each other, a clever ploy from Cora's lawyer prevents Cora's full confession from coming into the hands of the prosecutor. With the tactic having failed to generate any new evidence for the prosecution, Cora is ultimately acquitted.
Frank and Cora eventually patch together their tumultuous relationship, and now plan for a future together. But as they seem to be prepared finally to live "happily ever after", Cora dies in a car accident.
Difference from novel
The main difference between this adaptation and the original novel is the ending. In the novel, Frank is convicted of killing Cora, ironically, since her death truly is an accident.
Jack Nicholson .... Frank Chambers
Jessica Lange .... Cora Smith
John Colicos .... Nick Papadakis
Michael Lerner .... Mr. Katz
John P. Ryan .... Kennedy
Anjelica Huston .... Madge
Christian Slater .... Berney
The film is most famous for the love scene on a kitchen table, which was so intense that many believed that Lange and Nicholson were really having sex on screen. However, this was vigorously denied by all those involved.
Other versions of the story/film
- Ossessione (Obsession) (1943 Italian film)
- The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 film)
- The Postman Always Rings Twice (1982 opera)
- Jerichow (2008 German film)
- ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Postman Always Rings Twice". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/1725/year/1981.html. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
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