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.
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