The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1981 dramatic adaptation, distributed by Paramount Pictures, directed and produced by Bob Rafelson, with a screenplay by David Mamet. It stars Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson and runs approx. 122 minutes. Frank chambers is a youngish, hunky drifter who has seen better days and his fair share of women. He detours through a rural California small town, stopping at a diner for a meal. He has no plans, nowhere to go specifically. The diner is owned by Nick Papadakis, an immigrant the locals affectionately refer to as the Greek. Nick's wife, Cora, works the diner counter. She is sexy and she knows it, though she is disillusioned and unhappily married to Nick. She longs for other places, a different life, excitement, and adventure. Cora has a fatalistic streak and is turned on by newness and danger. Frank catches her eye immediately, and she his.
Frank and Cora don't waste time getting to know one another. They enjoy a passionate affair, displaying private tendencies that border on risqué. Cora especially likes the mixture of pain and pleasure, and Frank loves mixing it up for her. A kitchen scene on top of a table sums up their tawdry, frenetic affair. With this potent mixture of desire and desperation, the two soon hatch a plan to kill Nick: they will bludgeon him and set a bathroom scene implying Nick fell and drowned in the tub. Cora delivers the fatal blow, but a power outage and a policeman's appearance thwart her and Frank's plans. Nick survives, though he is dazed and cannot remember his wife all but killed him.
Cora and Frank attempt to murder Nick again and succeed. A local prosecutor suspects Cora and Frank but cannot press charges in the absence of evidence. Cora and Frank begin scheming their getaway, but all doesn't end as well as hoped.
The Postman Always Rings Twice is a superb modern retelling of a tragic, haunting love triangle.