OSSESSIONE
1943, 131 min, Italy, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Based on James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, the first acclaimed work of Italian neorealism is a gritty, earthy (and unlicensed) adaptation of the famous noir novella, much closer in tone and spirit to Cain’s tale than the 1946 Hollywood version. Clara Calamai and Massimo Girotti burn up the screen as the doomed lovers, but Visconti makes the story as much about poverty as about lust and greed. The film was reviled and banned by Italy’s Fascist government, and MGM (legal holder of the movie rights) confiscated and destroyed all the prints it could find. Yet OSSESSIONE survives, a stunning hybrid of noir and neorealism - the director’s first masterpiece. In Italian with English subtitles.


FRAMED
1947, Columbia [Sony Repertory], 82 min, USA, Dir: Richard Wallace

In this rarely seen piece of prime-grade pulp, taciturn Glenn Ford barrels his broken-down truck into a rural California town and is quickly engulfed in adultery, embezzlement and murder. Janis Carter is the long, tall drink of delicious poison he can’t resist, a frosty sample of pure ’40s film noir femme fatale. Barry Sullivan is his usual sly self as the not-so-unwilling cuckold. The script by Ben Maddow (THE ASPHALT JUNGLE) hits all the notes originated by James M. Cain, and director Richard Wallace has a good time playing them. Not on DVD!


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