Starring: Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway
Director: Tay Garnett
Lana Turner stars as a blonde bombshell Cora, married to an old man who owns a diner. When Frank, John Garfield, enters their lives, looking for odd jobs, he’s quite taken with her, and slowly a romance develops. But the only way they can truly be together is to get rid of her husband. Permanently.
The title refers to the way in which you might miss the first ringing of the bell from the postman, but the second usually gets you. The secret to it is in the ending, which I don’t want to spoil for you here, but it’s a film about guilt and betrayal, love and murder, and the need to be free. Cora wants to make her own choices in life, and not be ruled by her husband, while Frank is a bit of a drifter, not tied down to any one town or place. Or woman, at least not until Cora. Turner, of course, sparkles in this film, a famous beauty for very good reason, and a classic Hollywodd star. This is, arguably, one of her finest films, where she gets to play a role that’s smart as well as sexy.
Watching this film, there’s something tragic in the two stars. Lana Turner was part of huge controversy in later years when her young daughter stabbed Turner’s husband to death in self defense, and John Garfield was about to have his career ended when he refuses to name name in the trials of the HUAC committee. They’re interesting figures on the Hollywood landscape, here their lives ahead of them as actors, but playing characters who are doomed.
See It If: film noir fans will love this one, and any of you who don’t know who Lana Turner is should start here. A great old school murder thriller.