ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: The Postman Always Rings Twice

Updated on September 7, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 1946, Tay Garnett released The Postman Always Rings Twice, based off 1934 the novel of the same name by James M. Cain. Starring Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames, Audrey Totter, Alan Reed, and Jeff York, the film grossed $5.09 million at the box office. The third filmed version of the novel, it was the first to use the original title.


After Frank Chambers drifts into a California town looking for a good meal, he winds up finding that, a job, and a woman named Cora with whom he has a passionate affair. Wanting to start over and live a new life, but not lose the diner she and her husband own, she and Frank decide to murder her husband Nick. But then there’s the consequences of their actions and how they must deal with them.


Though possibly dated by it's name, due to mail carriers no longer ringing or making tenants known of their presence as they drop off mail, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a pretty compelling film. Told from the perspective of Nick as he's telling the story to a priest before his execution, it's possible that his recollections of the film's events are unreliable in order to make himself look better. The biggest example is in how he makes Cora out to be. In his recollection, she’s a femme fatale who ensnares and seduces him before getting him to help her kill her husband so she can start over with him. Now, there’s no doubt that Frank and Cora killed Nick, Frank’s not unreliable there. However, he may be trying to make himself come off as having been roped into doing it and instead, the whole affair, plan to kill Nick and running off with Cora could have been all his idea. Though there’s no real incentive for him to spin a version of events to the priest, it’s interesting to think about.

On the other hand, the above interpretation could also be very well off base because while Nick is telling the priest the whole story, we do see his initial meeting with Cora. Her introduction begins with Frank noticing Cora’s attractiveness with the camera starting at her feet, lingering on her legs and then cutting to show her wearing revealing shorts and a top that bares her midriff. What’s more is that it’s established that she simply married Nick because she wanted everyone else in town to stop hitting on her. Someone tired of all the attention and thus marrying someone not out of love, but out of a desire to be rid of all those eyes will undoubtedly have a mind crafty enough to figure out a plan for getting out of the marriage when a person they actually do think they'll love comes along.

As stated above, it's entirely possible that the film is possibly dated just from it's name. What's interesting about this is that the original novel never gave an explanation of why it had that name, causing people to finish with questions about why it was called that only to make up their own theories. The film doesn't do this and fascinatingly diverges from the source to present its own solution to the name. The film has Frank commenting about getting off for murdering Nick, but when Cora died accidentally, he’s getting the death penalty for the crime he didn’t commit, but he still sees himself as being punished for one he did. He explains it that the postman rang the first time, but getting off without a sentence, he wasn’t there to answer. However, he notes the postman will always return and the second time, he’s always heard. It’s a compelling way to give the film some extra symbolism where the book didn’t have it.

Also notable is whether or not Cora trapped Frank with her feminine wiles, he's still prevented from coming out on top because of the false conviction of her murder from the car accident. Being kept from getting out of jail living the rest of his life rather than undergoing an execution is an intriguing way to lead Nick to come up with the explanation of the film's title.

3 stars for The Postman Always Rings Twice

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)