Sunday, December 07, 2008

the postman always rings twice

In the preface to Double Indemnity, author James M. Cain recounts how he showed the manuscript of The Postman Always Rings Twice to screenwriter Vincent Lawrence, and continues:

Lawrence liked it, and even gave me a title for it. We were talking one day, about the time he had mailed a play, his first, to a producer. Then, he said, "I almost went nuts. I'd sit and watch for the postman, and then I'd think, 'You got to cut this out,' and then when I left the window I'd be listening for his ring. How I'd know it was the postman was that he'd always ring twice."

He went on with more of the harrowing tale, but I cut in on him suddenly. I said: "Vincent, I think you've given me a title for that book."
"What's that?"
"The Postman Always Rings Twice."
"Say, he rang twice for Chambers, didn't he?"
"That's the idea."
"And on that second ring, Chambers had to answer, didn't he? Couldn't hide out in the backyard any more."
"His number was up, I'd say."
"I like it."
"Then, that's it."


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