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Ossessione 1943

  • Luchino Visconti
  • May 16, 1943
  • 140 mins
  • Italian
  • Crime, Drama, Romance
A woman plans to murder her husband with the help of a handsome drifter who loves her. OSSESSIONE, Luchino Visconti's first film, is the second adaptation of James M. Cain's 1934 novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice,” the first being the 1939 French "Le Dernier Tournant," directed by Pierre Chenal. These two films, and the U.S. versions of 1946 and 1981 (the latter two retaining Cain’s title), all share essentially the same plot but differ in details and sexual dynamics. Because of its cynical tone and bleakness, Mussolini ordered all prints destroyed. The order was carried out, but Visconti managed to stash away a duplicate negative from which all current prints of the film derive. The fact that "Ossessione" was an unauthorized adaptation of Cain's story kept it in legal disputes and unseen outside of Italy until 1976. Film historians are in almost unanimous agreement that “Ossessione” is the most visually, dramatically and sexually compelling cinematic version of Cain’s novel.

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