The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1934 in
the 1947 3rd Pocket Book edition with Cover art from Tom Dunn
James M. Cain (1892-1977)
crime novelist, script writer and journalist is considered to be one of
representatives of the Hard-Boiled pulp fiction genre, who became the
basis fodder for the Film Noir movies of
the 1940's-1950's. But he also wrote more melodramatic stories and he
has been called (by Francis Nevins, Jr.)
- The Chronicler of Sexual Obsession.
Many of his books have been
filmed and maybe the most famous of these adaptions are 1946 The Postman
Rings Twice. The Novel became a sensation on it's release in February
1934. It's reputation grew and there was a
flood of reprintings and pocket book editions, and this not just in the
US but in the whole world including Sweden.
A Book that defined
the Noir genre
The Story takes place in
the aftermath of the big depression, when millions of americans were forced
ment, rootlessness and alienation, and it's about the drifter Frank Chambers
who by chance meets the ex-greek,
Nick Papadakis, owner of a roadside bar, and his much younger and very
attractive wife Cora.
Hmm, yes that sounds like prime fodder for a Film Noir, and there's an
explosion of attraction between Frank and
Cora. Very soon they've sex in every place possible when Nick's away.
Both Frank and Cora are rotten
to the core, and soon Cora talks Frank into murdering poor Nick. That's
for him employing Frank in his business. The style of prose is simple
and straight to the point without any literary ex-
periments. But, even though the love couple is very unlikeable and just
2 predators in the human jungle, this is some
sort of Love Story with the feeling of despair and darkness accumulating
as the nasty story is progressing.
Mistrust, doomed love, despair and desperation - and the worlds
malignant forces out to trip you
= Ultimate Noir and this novel is a masterpiece in the genre
The Book was adapted to film
the 1st time in 1942 by the Italian Maestro Luchino Visconti in Ossessione
in some sort of early Neo-Realistic style, and then in the US classic
from 1946 with John Garfield and Lana Turner as
Frank and Cora. Turner is good as the pure evil Femme Fatale murderess
and John Garfield ditto as the moody looser
anti-hero, John Garfield were always great in all his films.
Another film version was made in 1981 with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson
(the woman on the pocket book cover
above does resemble Jessica Lange a bit, or .... ?