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THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946)

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Love conquers nothing in the world of film noir, but it sure can sizzle on the road to perdition. With John Garfield as a feckless drifter and Lana Turner as an unhappy wife, The Postman Always Rings Twice is one of the sexiest films in the genre. The tale of murder and retribution had confounded screenwriters for years. MGM had bought the rights to James M. Cain’s novel shortly after it came out in 1934 but couldn’t get it past the Production Code. When Paramount scored a hit with another Cain novel, Double Indemnity (1944), MGM producer Carey Wilson decided to give Postman another try. By removing the details of the leads’ affair and making the murdered husband (Cecil Kellaway) more sympathetic, they finally came up with a filmable script (it was still banned in at least three countries). Director Tay Garnett suggested that dressing Turner in white through most of the film would also make her seem more innocent. It didn’t; it just made her sexier. And it triggered a fashion craze for white and for shorts, which she wore in her first scene. Under Garnett’s direction, Turner and Garfield made an unforgettable screen team. They would later call the film their favorite. (d. Tay Garnett, 93m, 35mm)

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