“The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1981) Starring Jack Nicolson & Jessica Lange / Z-View

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

Director:   Bob Rafelson

Screenplay by:  David Mamet based on the James M. Cain novel The Postman Always Rings Twice

Starring:  Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, John Colicos, Michael Lerner, John P. Ryan and Anjelica Huston

Tagline:  In the heat of passion two things can happen. The second is murder.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Frank Chambers (Nicholson) is a drifter who plans to scam a meal from a roadside diner and move on.  When the diner’s owner, Nick Papadakis (Colicos), offers Chambers a job, he declines… then he catches a look at Papadakis’ young wife (Lange).  Chambers takes the job,

Soon he and young Mrs. Papadakis are involved in a low-rent romance.  As things heat up, their thoughts turn to cold-blooded murder.  With Mr. Papadakis permanently out of the way, they’ll have each other and the diner to themselves.  They think they’ll be on the way to easy street, but depending on how things turn out it could be the electric chair!

This film is the fourth version of James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.  It was David Mamet’s first produced screenplay and had Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange in the lead roles.  My expectations were high.  Sadly, I was disappointed.  The advertisements for the film boasted of the heat between Nicholson and Lange.  I didn’t feel it.  Chambers and Papadakis’ wife need to be so in love (or at least in lust) that they’re willing to risk everything.  I had the feeling that either of them could have moved on without a glance back.  The love scenes weren’t loving or even sexy.

I’m a huge fan of the 1946 movie version starring Lana Turner and John Garfield which I thought was a 5 star film.  This could have influenced my feelings toward the remake which earns 2 of 5 stars.