John Garfield was a wildly popular actor in his day, and this is regarded as one of his best performances, if not the very top. The story is one of obsession: Garfield's Paul Boray is an ambitious violin player who's quickly rising to the top of his profession. Crawford is Helen Wright, who's smitten with him and funds his life's work. But Boray doesn't have room in his life for two loves, so Wright gets the perpetual cold shoulder. Her last moments of screen time are as haunting as they are inevitable.
Continue reading: Humoresque 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