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The very first Postman

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Ann Harding
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The very first Postman

Postby Ann Harding » February 8th, 2009, 6:04 am

I am sure few of you are aware of the very first film version of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice. I was made in France in 1939. It's a brilliant picture.

Le Dernier Tournant (The last turn, 1939) by Pierre Chenal with Michel Simon, Fernand Gravey and Corinne Luchaire

Image
Image
Top, Nick (M. Simon) and Frank (F. Gravey); bottom, Cora (C. Luchaire)

The story line - while transposed to the South of France where Nick (Michel Simon) runs a small restaurant & petrol station on small road - is extremely faithful to Cain's novel. Cora is played by the very young 19-year old Corinne Luchaire who was a shooting star in French cinema. She died at 28 of TB. The film has a very dry aspect; not as much glamour as the later 1946 version. It's totally faithful in that respect to Cain. Cora and Frank want to get rid of Nick in perfect cold-blood. This is a Film Noir before the genre was even invented: the moody cinematography with claustrophobic close-ups, the isolation of the petrol station surrounded by an arid landscape, the doomed hero and heroine. Michel Simon is perfect as the cuckold husband, probably not quite as blind as he appears to be. Fernand Gravey, who worked in Hollywood for a while, is also perfectly cast -against type- as the drifter Frank obsessed with Cora. And finally, Corinne Luchaire is the cold-blooded Cora, showing strength as well as frailty. She is long, thin and a bit boyish in a way. She wears a black-wig in the film as she was blond. A film that deserved to be better known. 8)
In 1942, another version of Postman was made by Luchino Visconti, Ossessione.
Last edited by Ann Harding on February 9th, 2009, 4:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » February 8th, 2009, 10:37 am

Wow, thanks for posting this, Christine! I don't know that film at all, but would certainly like to. I'm a big fan of Visconit's version but find the 1946 American version made by Tay Garnett to be perfectly awful; one of the dullest noir films ever made.
Do you happen to know if a Region One DVD has ever been produced of Le Dernier Tourant?
Thanks again!

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » February 8th, 2009, 10:57 am

Unfortunately Dewey, this picture is not available on DVD, even in France. :cry: The captures I posted were made from a VHS of a TV broadcast.

feaito

Postby feaito » February 8th, 2009, 11:20 am

Thanks for posting about this film Christine, I did not know about this French Version; I only knew about Visconti's Ossessione.

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » February 8th, 2009, 11:36 am

Hi Feaito, here is a picture of Corinne Luchaire in her natural color:
Image
C. Luchaire in Prison Without Bars

feaito

Postby feaito » February 8th, 2009, 12:15 pm

Thanks for posting it Christine, she was really stunningly beautiful :shock:

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Dewey1960
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Postby Dewey1960 » February 8th, 2009, 12:58 pm

Here are three clips from LE DERNIER TOURNANT compliments of
YouTube. The film looks especially spectacular!!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJojiy8BLFs&feature=related[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZub9R8j4pM&feature=related[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A76brRL7cIw&feature=related[/youtube]

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » February 8th, 2009, 2:17 pm

Well, Dewey! I never think about You Tube... I am glad you had a look, at least, you can have a glimpse at Le Dernier Tournant. :wink: 8)

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 8th, 2009, 3:16 pm

I have Ossessione, I prefer it to the American version. I never knew of the earlier French version. Thanks for posting.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » February 9th, 2009, 11:43 am

Luchaire is interesting. She looks a lot like Barbara Stanwyck in the top photo, and a lot like Ann Sheridan in the lower photo. I would like to see her work, and I'll watch out for her movies.

feaito

Postby feaito » February 9th, 2009, 4:48 pm

In the top photo she resembles -IMO- a cross between Ann Sothern and a young Merle Oberon (those almond eyes!!!).

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Moraldo Rubini
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Re: The very first Postman

Postby Moraldo Rubini » February 10th, 2009, 1:09 am

Ann Harding wrote:Le Dernier Tournant (The last turn, 1939) by Pierre Chenal with Michel Simon, Fernand Gravey and Corinne Luchaire

Is Fernand Gravey the same man as "Fernand Gravet" who played Strauss in the MGM magnum opus musical The Great Waltz? Thanks Ann, I've enjoyed Visconti's version, but had no idea there was an earlier version.

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » February 10th, 2009, 4:23 am

Yes, Moraldo, the Belgian-born Fernand Gravey was renamed Fernand Gravet in Hollywood. Somebody was afraid that his name could be mistaken for 'gravy'!!! :lol:
He is excellent in Le Dernier Tournant playing Frank, a part quite removed from his usual leading roles.

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knitwit45
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Postby knitwit45 » February 10th, 2009, 9:34 am

My first memory of M. Gravet was as the fussy museum director in How to Steal a Million. I would love to see him in other roles, and this one looks like a pip!
Thanks for the post and pictures, Christine.


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