Based on a poem, this spare film is consumed almost completely by a boxing match, filmed in real time. Between rounds, the scheming occurs -- our hero's manager wants him to take a dive, while the boxer's wife stands by her man. Whoops, the manager thinks his fighter's going to lose, so he doesn't bother to tell him that he's taken a payoff.
Continue reading: The Set-Up Review
The plot of Postman is, indeed, sexier than usual - the perceived naughtiness of Cain's original, excellent novel got it a "Banned in Boston" stamp. But toned down for the screen, Postman is mainly an excellent noir that's fueled by one of John Garfield's best performances. As Frank and Cora fall deeper into their romance, they begin to plan doing away with Nick. The first attempt sadly and (thanks to a clumsy shot of an electrocuted cat) hilariously fails to take, but the second works out ghoulishly. From there, the story becomes a noir classic of shifting loyalties, betrayal, and paranoia. Few actors of the time were as good as portraying the decent man in a conundrum, but there's something about the combination of Garfield's mannish broad shoulders and childish eyes that make him perfect for noirs. Body and Soul is his finest hour, but Postman is worth Garfield as well.
Continue reading: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) Review