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March-April 1981

Bob Rafelson's The Postman Always Rings Twice, David Mamet interview, Jessica Lange interview, Barbara Stanwyck interview and tributes, Hollywood Ten, Peter O'Toole, Oscar predictions, James Woods's guilty pleasures, Grosses Gloss

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Issue Details

‘THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE’
The new version of James M. Cain’s novel starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange, will raise eyebrows and temperatures with its unflinching depiction of sexual obsession—but the story doesn’t begin or end there. Dan Yakir traces Cain’s plot through six movie versions, talks with playwright David Mamet, who wrote the script for the current film, and asks Jessica Lange about her journey from the Camp of King Kong to The Postman’s passionate melodrama. In the article-interview, David Thomson traces the doomed wanderlust of director Bob Rafelson’s heroes, and Rafelson discusses his intransigent independence throughout a rocky career that led from The Monkees and Five Easy Pieces to the door of a California diner.

MIDSECTION: BARBARA STANWYCK
In The Lady Eve and Double Indemnity as Sugarpuss O’Shea or the sweetener in General Yen’s tea, Barbara Stanwyck defined the movies’ modern woman: smart, assured, quick as a whip, and soft enough to surrender to any poor sap who had the sense to fall in love with her. The Film Society of Lincoln Center will honor Stanwyck on April 13, but four of her admirers couldn’t wait. Stephen Harvey pays tribute to the actress and the woman; Richard T. Jameson recalls her early films with Frank Capra; David Thomson re-views Stella Dallas; James McCourt has a last fond word. And. in her first interview in over a decade, Stanwyck the Miracle Woman tells her own story to Bernard Drew.

JOURNALS
Gilbert Adair and Annette Insdorf report from the London Film Festival.

RETURN OF THE HOLLYWOOD TEN
The argument still rages over Communists and informers, burnt-out careers and consciences, who informed and who didn’t. Richard Schickel offers another perspective.

PETER O’TOOLE
With his Oscar nomination for The Stunt Man and Masada next. O’Toole is no longer only Lawrence of Arabia. An interview by Joseph McBride.

OSCAR FOR LA RENTA
Scott Kaufer scans Tinseltown’s best reading: trade-paper ads for Oscar hopefuls. And eight savants (David Ansen, Stuart Byron, David Denby, Roger Ebert. Aljean Harmetz. Todd McCarthy, Andrew Sarris, and Richard Schickel) pick this year’s Oscars.

BERGMAN AND DREAMS
How one filmmaker turns the oneiric into the cinematic. By Vlada Petric.

JAMES WOODS’ GUILTY PLEASURES
The star of Holocaust and Eyewitness shows a healthy disrespect for good bad movies—and an unnatural obsession with Cliff Robertson.

INDUSTRY
Our sixth annual Grosses Gloss. Last year, inflation forced moviemen to raise the ante—but some could only Raise the Titanic. By Mvron Meisel.

1980 FILM COMMENT INDEX

BOOKS
Selznick’s Hollywood is a Garden of Allah for readers. By James McCourt.

TELEVISION
Richard T. Jameson on Hill Street Blues, a wazoo parade of quality.

BULLETIN BOARD