Friday, May 11, 2012

Tay Garnett

I've rung The Postman's bell more than several times over the years. Read the James M. Cain novel back in college and loved it. Made it through the lackluster Mamet-Nicholson-Rafaelson remake a few years back after a few sleep-aborted attempts. I even played the drifter Frank (poorly) once in an NYU acting class. But I had never seen the classic original.

I don't know why it took me so long to answer the door. This is a fine early film noir entry. Garnett's direction may be a little light on style, but Cain's whipcrack plotting and well-oiled gears of impending doom keep things plenty interesting. John Garfield's a little stiff as the fall guy, but Lana Turner makes up for it with her curdling blonde ambition. The God-as-Postman ending is a bit saccharine and sanctimonious for the genre, but, hey, this is noir in its preemie stages. Like the Pony Express, they were still working out the kinks.

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