The Postman Always Rings Twice

Synopsis: Nick Smith, the middle-aged proprietor of a roadside restaurant, hires drifter Frank Chambers as a handyman. Frank eventually begins an affair with Nick's beautiful wife Cora, who talks Frank into helping her kill Nick, by "accident." But the best laid plans......
Director(s): Tay Garnett
Production: MGM
Rotten Tomatoes:
113 min

It was on a side road

outside of Los Angeles.

I was hitchhiking from San Francisco

down to San Diego, I guess.

A half-hour earlier, I'd thumbed a ride.

Thanks for the ride, the three cigarettes

and for not laughing at my theories on life.

But you broke off in the middle.

Why do you keep looking

for new places, people, ideas?

Well, I never liked any job I had.

Maybe the next one is the one.

- Not worried about your future?

- I got plenty of time for that. Besides...

- ...maybe my future starts right now.

- Well, good luck.

- Maybe I'll see you again.

- Thanks for the ride, mister.

Who do you think you are?

- He slipped you something, huh?

- That's right, brother.

I stick my head in the window and say:

"Parking in the highway,

who do you think you are?"

- He slipped me three little words.

- Three words?

Yeah. He says, "The district attorney."

That's right, the old DA himself.

He lives down the road here a piece.

Good morning, my friend.

I'll tell you about that job.

All you've got to do is, you know,

help around the place.

Right now I've got a certain trouble

that keeps me from working.

- You look healthy.

- My feet.

They keep itching for me to go places.

But it's a nice place you've got.

How's the food?

I'll make you a wonderful

hamburger, free.

To show you the food that goes with

the job. Do you know about automobiles?

- Oh, I'm a born mechanic.

- Swell.

Sit down.

The job doesn't pay

all the money in the world...

...but you've got no expenses.

You eat and sleep right here.

A fine bed, box spring and mattress...

...fresh air, sunshine.

- Boy, you'll be living.

- Suppose I try it for a couple days?

- Yeah. Oh, a customer.

- Go ahead. We're not making money here.

- I'll look after the hamburger.

- Thanks.

Don't go away.

You drop this?

Mm-hm. Thanks.


That's it, burn it up.

I'll go tell my wife you're going to stay.

Your wife?

Cora, I've got someone to help us now.

Oh, turn that off, Cora.

The electric light company

is making enough money.

My, Cora, you look lovely tonight.

Thank you, Nick.

Um, Nick...

...that man you hired today...


Well, if that's his name.

Why don't you give him

a week's salary and let him go?

- A week's pay for nothing?

- Well, we can get along without him.

Now, hold on, that's a bit too hasty.

He's working pretty cheap.

That Los Angeles butcher

has been cheating me.

Yes. He's been charging you

U.S. Choice prices for U.S. Good.

Yeah. Well, we'll fix him.

My husband tells me

your name is Frank.

That's right.

Well, Frank, around here, you'll kindly

do your reading on your own time.

Your husband, Nick,

told me I was through for the day...

...and I thought he was boss.

The best way to get my husband

to fire you...

...would be not doing

what I tell you to do.

Well, you haven't asked me

to do anything. Yet.

I want all these chairs painted.

All right.

I'll look in the paper.

Maybe I can find a sale on cheap paint.

You won't find anything

cheap around here.

Look in the cupboard

under the counter.

As my friend Nick would say,

that's wonderful.

Next time anybody is in town

they can pick up a paintbrush.

Look on the bottom shelf.

Well, what do you know about that?

Why didn't you start this campaign

of rehabilitation before I came?

- Or were you waiting for me?

- Nick was saving that.

- Nick saves a lot.

- It's none of your business.

I didn't say it was. Only when

I have something, I don't save it.

What do you want

to paint these chairs for?

Because I want to make something

of this place. I want to make it--


...aren't we ambitious?

We want to make a lot of money

so we can buy lots of pretty clothes.

Or maybe we want to put a little aside

for our husband and us in our old age.

For a couple of weeks then

she wouldn't look at me...

...or say a word to me

if she could help it.

I began to feel like a cheap nobody making

a play for a girl that had no use for me.

Oh, I disturbed her.

I knew she hated me for that

worst of all.

A customer wants this wiped off.

It needs hot water.

Trying to figure a way

to get that sign back.

- Well, don't bother.

- No bother.

- All I need is a stepladder.

- I don't want the sign put back, busybody.

I've been trying to get a new sign

for two years.

Maybe there are some things

you can't sell.

- Oh, now--

- Hello, there.

You know, Frank,

I've been thinking, you must be in love.

You hardly eat any lunch.

He doesn't get any letters.

- I guess his girl's got another fella.

- Too hot to eat.

Funny climate around here. The harder

the wind blows, the hotter it gets.

We call that wind the Santa Ana.

It comes from the desert.

Nick, why don't you let me take your car,

I'll run that sign into town and get it fixed.

Okay. Take it to the electric company.

They did it for free last time.

Sure, why not? They make

a fortune on it.

Now you're talking

like the neon-sign salesman.

A neon sign would burn

a quarter as much juice...

- ...but, Nick, that's not the point.

- It isn't?

Well, no. What's the purpose

of a sign around here?

- Well, to show people where they can eat.

- Not for my money.

A sign should give people an appetite.

Your sign doesn't make me hungry.

Yeah. Maybe you're right...

...but I'm too busy to talk about it now.

He's hooked.

I could sell anything to anybody.

That's what you think.

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Harry Ruskin

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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