The Postman Rings Multiple Times

This year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival wasn’t a total disaster — it afforded a rare chance to see both Jerzy Skolimowski’s ADVENTURES OF GERARD, and Gyorgy Feher’s PASSION on the big screen. So the latter is the subject of this week’s The Forgotten, over at The Daily Notebook. It was selected for screening by guest programmer Bela Tarr (recruited by former collaborator Tilda Swinton, a festival patron, I believe) and shows an interesting reflection of his own style — the blasted landscape above could have come straight from DAMNATION.

The movie is yet another adaptation of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, and makes some of the same strange narrative omissions as the 80s Rafelson version, but because the film privileges overall mood over immediate dramatic moments, this WORKS…

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7 Responses to “The Postman Rings Multiple Times”

  1. The European influence of TPART is fascinating. Visconti’s first film OSSESSIONE adapted it. Jean Renoir his former boss passed him the book and told him a great first film was in it for him. Then Antonioni’s first feature STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR has a similar plot although Antonioni totally subsumes it.

    By contrast, I don’t think Tay Garnett’s version is that interesting although it has John Garfield and Lana Turner.

  2. Yes, weirdly Hollywood hasn’t made made as much of it as Europe. Obviously censorship played a role in hampering adaptation, but the later, more explicit Rafelson version isn’t as distinguished as the Italian and Hungarian takes, imho.

  3. But what about Adventures of Gerard? I’ve always longed to see this ultra-obscure epic derived from an Arthur Conan Doyle story starring Claudia Cardinale, John Moulder-Brown, Jack Hawkins and others of note. Skolimowski changed his first name to “Yurek” for the occasion and claimed it was made by his (presumably Evil) Twin.

  4. I got into Skolimowski in my late teens (he’d just made Moonlighting), and Gerard, seen on the BBC late one night, was a favourite of mine. Skolimowski evidently dislikes the film with a vengeance: I remember going to a showing of Deep End in London with Skolimowski in attendance, and during the question-and-answer session he managed to get in a few digs at Gerard. It’s a Euro-pudding, for sure, but not without its pleasures. Peter McEnery is great as Gerard, ridiculous and heroic in equal measure; I particularly enjoyed his direct addresses to the camera. His subordinate sidekick is played by Norman Rossington (always a plus for connoisseurs of British character actors). Eli Wallach, of all people, pops up as Napoleon. I seem to recall Claudia Cardinale brandishing a pistol while in the bath, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part.

  5. The Adventures of Gerard was great on the big screen — I’d only seen it pan-and-scanned on TV like Stephen, and the comedy timing was immensely improved by the correct screen ratio.

    Cardinale rises from a bath wearing only a map of Europe (a contour map, presumably) and wields pistols on numerous occasions.

    Full review soon!

  6. One of the most joyous smiles in cinema!

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