Tay Garnett's The Postman Always Rings Twice

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Midterm Paper 1. INTRODUCTION Tay Garnett’s 1946 The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic film noir that explored how ordinary people can be capable of the darkest crimes lead by uncontrollable passions. Adapted from the 1934 controversial crime novel “The Postman Always Rings Twice” by James M. Cain. A tale of an unhappy married woman who reluctantly falls in love with a drifter, the story follows their destructive relationship as it falls to pieces after they murder her husband. This paper will mainly explore the gender politics concerning the film more specifically how Cora Smith develops into the unsuspecting femme fatale. To help with this complex topic, I will go into detail over techniques used like voice-over, flashback (or memory image), characters and their expectations, the idea of male crisis of identity (or masculinity), females as a sexual object of desire, cinematography, style, and historical context and how…show more content…
Historical Context. Garnett’s version of The Postman Always Rings Twice was released in May 2, 1946. Only one year after the end of World War II and on the tale end of the Depression Era. Cain’s novel was released in 1934, it was considered successful but caused quite the scandal due to the explicit context of sex and violence. Censorship was extremely conservative due to the Production Code Administration (PCA) but “film noir both compiled with, yet undermined, Production Code censorship” (Biesen 1). MGM (Metro,Goldwyn,Mayer) transformed Cain’s graphic scandalous story into a more polished version cutting out the sex and most of the violence. A great example is when Cora announces she is pregnant to Frank but we never see the couple have sex, we only see quick scenes of heavy kissing. The studio removes realism out of the film as well. An example, Twin Oaks is set in the outskirts of Los Angeles during the Depression Era, instead of the town filled with despair, the audience is shown a fantasy

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