Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jonny's Pick: The Postman Always Rings Twice

I recently saw another film handpicked by my charming man, Jonny.

This time, he recommended: The Postman Always Rings Twice.

The film revolves around a beautiful young married woman who falls in love with a drifter. They plot to murder her husband, but they are not prepared for the consequences once the deed is done.

The Postman Always Rings Twice is film noir at its very best.

It is incredibly suspenseful, is full of complex twists and turns, and has a phenomenal cast.

John Garfield shines as the handsome bad boy, Frank, who falls in love with a married woman.

Hume Cronyn practically steals the entire film with his biting portrayal as the brilliant defense lawyer, Arthur.

But this film would be absolutely nothing without its cherry on top, legendary Hollywood glamourpuss, Lana Turner. At the time this movie was made (1946) she was considered the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

Her entrance into the film, where the camera pans from a fallen tube of lipstick to her bare legs is iconic to movie buffs.

Lana flawlessly portrays her character, Cora, in such a complicated way, you won't know whether to love her or hate her. She is cold, calculating, utterly in love, completely naive, frighteningly gentle, and heartbreakingly dangerous.

If you know your Hollywood history, then you probably know Lana in real life was very much the same.

Lana was raised in Los Angeles by her single mother, after her father was murdered. They were incredibly poor.

Her introduction to Hollywood in the mid-1930s is a showbiz Cinderella story. Lana had skipped school one day to go buy a Coke at a local cafe. Intrigued by the 16-year-old's beauty, the publisher of the Hollywood Reporter, who was also dining there, referred her to a talent agent. She signed a contract and her career quickly took off.

For most of the 1930s, Lana was celebrated as a movie star and pinup model for college boys.

In the 1940s and 1950s, she established herself as a legitimate actress, even being offered meaty, complex roles turned down by the talented Katharine Hepburn.

Her personal life, however, was a mess.

Lana married eight different times to men who were all pretty much scumbags. For example, one of them molested her daughter and another one stole a lot of money from her and disappeared.

Things took a turn for the worse in 1957 when she fell in love with Johnny Stompanato, a businessman who was involved with the mafia. It was a love/hate relationship filled with physical abuse, angry outbursts, and jealousy.

One year later, Lana's 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl, overheard the couple having an extremely violent fight. Fearing for her mother's life, Cheryl took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Johnny to death.

Lana gave a heartwrenching testimony at the trial, pleading her daughter's honor. It was considered to be the greatest acting performance of her life. Nevertheless, it worked. The murder was ruled self-defense.

Unfortunately, the murder also killed Lana's career. It never fully recovered after the media circus surrounding the trial.

I find this sad because after seeing The Postman Always Rings Twice, it is quite obvious Lana had genuine acting abilities beyond her beauty. She still had decades worth of talent to offer before her death from cancer in 1995.

If you want to see that talent, I highly recommend The Postman Always Rings Twice.


Despina said...

Such a nice suggestion.i am going to see this movie.u intrigued me.

Mouthwash said...

Wow! I feel so bad for poor Cheryl. Can you imagine the pressure put on her, if she felt that she had to defend her mother in such a way? In a way it almost sounds like it was Cheryl who was the adult in the house...and much too young for the job.

I am so intrigued now. I totally want to see this movie!

Asta said...

wow..i am so going to watch this movie..i love old, noir movies.

Josie said...

I LOVE this movie, but had no idea about Lana's tragic personal life.
xo Josie

Sarah said...

Lana was so beautiful!

Kavery said...

I have seen the movie- such a classic beauty she was. Didn't know the background story though- interesting.

Dahl said...

Wow, what an incredibly powerful life. I never knew about Lana Turner's past. How courageous of her to stand up for her daughter. Her life would be the most intriguing movie!

Andrés Corella said...

Def gonna watch it...I really loved the way you described her character and her story is quite sad...isn´t it interesting that some of the people with truly great talent..also have truly messy lives?

The Black Label

Belly B said...

People from the past had such dramatic lives!!! And we thought Lindsay Lohan was epic pfft!
Amazing summary of her life, Jennifer :)

<3 Belly B

lalabang said...

so interesting post :) I'm gonna try to find the movie, but I also want to know a little more about her! I just always love how you write .

Dale said...

Wow, this is such a cute post, I really like old movies and haven't seen one in a long time. I haven't heard of this one, the pics are so fun and romantic I'll definitely have to get it on Netflix. Great blog.

Following you now
I have a fashion blog here in San Francisco if you have time

Meri said...

I love your reviews- they are so comprehensive! I've always wanted to see this film, and I had no idea about Lana and her story. Interesting, thanks!

Stevia said...

her story sounds like a tragic full of drama novel
she is, undeniably, gorgeous!


Sherin said...

Oh wow: I can't believe her daughter stabbed him, and what a shame that it was the end of her acting career.
she looks stunning and the moview sounds great.

Fashion Celebration said...

love the film!!!


The Blonde Duck said...

Isn't it amazing how many stars back then had such chaotic lives, but appeared so glamorous?

Tights Lover said...

She is stunning! I really want to see this movie now.

Her life story is amazing. We think celebs are messed up now, but I think it might've been even worse back then!

F. said...

I love the images.. it must be a good movie ;)

xoxo F.

Couture Carrie said...

Must see this one again soon!
Love Lana!


Anonymous said...

Ooh I want to see this movie now. Great post! :)

Bonnie said...

You always make me add new movies to my Netflix, and then I make Mr. A watch them with me. Your reviews are magical -- like crack. You could be the next Ebert & Roeper.
Those are the reviewer people, right?
Yes, I believe so.
I'm in a weird mood right now. DANCE PARTY.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Bonnie said...

GAY CLUBS?!?!?!?!
I am so there.
Take me there.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Francesca R said...

This is such a well done review!
I love Lana Turner and I remember about that terrible episode that ruined her life and hers daughter.

LiezyL said...

i hear about this movie a million times but havent got the chance to watch it. ive been missing a lot!

Dolls Factory said...

married eight different times , if it weren't for the killing..she could have been as famous as Liz taylor. At least for the 8 weddings :-)

Missed Periods said...

First of all, I am totally going to Netflix the movie immediately. But, my god, what a tragic life!

Lisa said...


omgosh how gorgeous is the picture of her and the fur!! STUNNING!

Sherry said...

O gosh I am so into old movies right now! Just saw Gone With the Wind the other night and I've got a bunch more in my Netflix queue! Will have to check this one out!

Elizabeth of PrettyNiftyThriftyFashion said...

oh i love lana turner!! she was so beautiful, i definitely need to see it :)

Olga said...

Lana Turner has lived a very un-simple life. I think that there are many things we don't know yet about her. Thank you for the recommendations about the movie.

StyleID said...

This is another one that I need to see. I think she was beautiful, sad to hear how her life unfolded, its typical of talented woman.