The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
Starring Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, and John Colicos
Directed by Bob Rafelson
**Currently streaming on Netflix**
I've already reviewed this story twice -- once in book form here and once in a foreign re-telling of the tale here (which made my Top Movies of 2009 list). The story itself is winning, but the execution in this 1981 version of the tale is a little long in the tooth, wearing out its welcome about two-thirds of the way through.
Frank Chambers (Nicholson) is a 1930s drifter, hitchhiking his way across the country. One day, he stops at a California diner for a quick bite and becomes enthralled by the young woman running the kitchen. Cora (Lange) is married to Nick Papdakis, a Greek immigrant who loves his wife, but also is incredibly overbearing. It's obvious to Frank that Cora doesn't love Nick and they begin a torrid love affair, full of masochistic tendencies. As their love blossoms, Cora and Frank plot to murder Nick so they can spend their life together.
When the film is focused on Frank, Cora, and Nick, it succeeds. However, as the film trudges on, screenwriter David Mamet adds some superfluous characters that just drag the film down. It's also a bit unfortunate that the plot to kill Nick seems to arise much too quickly. A little more time in developing the love affair between Frank and Cora would have been welcome.
All that being said, I never thought I would say that Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange were sexy, but they really were in this flick. Raw, sensual, and passionate, the love scenes between Frank and Cora were surprisingly hot...and performed with shockingly little nudity for the intensity on display. It's a credit to Nicholson and Lange for making their roles entirely believable. I never really felt that there was a false note on display (particularly from Jack).
Still, the better version of this film is in my previously reviewed Jerichow, but it's certainly not a waste of time.
The RyMickey Rating: C+