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JACK NICHOLSON NOIR FOR 'THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE'

Title: THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE Year: 1981 Rating: ***1/2

Passion is better left implied, and the original POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE is far more sensuous, especially as Bob Rafelson's unapologetically R-Rated remake keeps little hidden with Jack Nicholson's otherwise useless drifter making Jessica Lange right there in the steamy kitchen of a diner he winds up employed...

And while Nicholson "is no John Garfield," the Noir-friendly CHINATOWN actor doesn't need to be. Paired with tough and tender Jessica Lange, she's not voluptuous like Lana Turner yet is equally beautiful and more realistically earthy/natural given the rural locale — desperately living the part instead of dramatically playing it...

Ugly husbands and pretty wives from both versions of THE POSTMAN RINGS TWICE

Enter the inevitable third wheel in grimy-looking Greek cafe/gas station owner John Colicos, cursed with the usual banal Noir-husband logic in not only allowing their gorgeous dames to spend ample time with a young and energetic, handsome rogue but insisting their friendship grows... then left stunned to how things inevitably/predictably pan out... 

Yet neither Lange or Turner actually seem hitched to such unattractive husbands (especially the latter, paired with a goofball befitting a slapstick comedy): And in either POSTMAN, the poor dolt  never sees it coming... herein through a noisy, drunken night on wheels, too darkly lit to pass as a capable Thriller while possessing the only mainstream Action...

Michael Lerner and Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE

Leading to dialogue-laden scenes with manipulative defense attorney Michael Lerner, who, for a great fifteen-minutes of courtroom bickering and backroom meetings, not only steals the picture (feeling like another movie altogether) but completely controls it, steering his client from determined prosecutor William Traylor (while a sneaky John Ryan, usually cast by Rafelson in his features featuring Nicholson, lays in wait)...

The steamy love scenes takes up the most time, but there's a nice break as the pair attempt a clean getaway, providing Jack his usual cocky fast-talker, conning his way through the 1930's Depression; and yet the best moments occur naturally when either Nicholson or Lange are alone — the otherwise avant garde FAST EASY PIECES director paints the bleak canvas more capably in repose than lustfully overblown passion.

Jessica Lange in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
John Colicos in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Christopher Lloyd and Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE

Jack Nicholson catting around in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jessica Lange in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jessica Lange in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jessica Lange in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jessica Lange in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Jack Nicholson in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Christopher Lloyd in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Christopher Lloyd in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Christopher Lloyd in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Christopher Lloyd in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Christopher Lloyd in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Christopher Lloyd in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE

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