Sunday, February 14, 2010

James M. Cain, Author

The Postman Always Rings Twice is one of James M. Cain's novels that was made into a movie as was Double Indemnity. Lana Turner as the wife and John Garfield as the drifter starred in The Postman, which came out in 1946. They plot to murder her husband and then must live with the consequences. I remember seeing the movie when I was in high school, but don't remember much about it other than a lot of publicity building up to the movie release. More on this at

Double Indemnity came out in 1944, starring Fred McMurray and Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson, directed by Billy Wilder, screenplay by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler, the writer of the Philip Marlowe detective books. An insurance rep lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigor's suspicions. Robinson is the investigator, McMurray the insurance salesman, and Stanwyck the wife of Actor Tom Powers, who is tricked into signing a double indemnity policy before he is killed. I don't remember much about this movie, either, it's been a long time. I'll have to check them out and watch them again. And more on this at

When I read about Paul Cain on I thought of James M. Cain, so I went to Wikipedia,, and reviewed his writings. He also wrote Mildred Pierce, which was also made into a movie, a boring movie in my estimation.  I remember reading his Serenade in a pocket book edition, as I recall, but have no idea what it was about.

Just yesterday, James M. Cain was mentioned in (The Education of a Pulp Writer) in connection with the latest Beat to a Pulp story.


  1. Many of the early Cain stories contained material that readers even today would find disturbing to talk about. But he did write them. And we still read.

    I hope everyone zips over to BEAT to a PULP and checks out (and leave a comment) for Anonymous-9. She is quite a talent.

  2. It's hard to go wrong with James M. Cain, Oscar. His first-person stuff is dang near impossible to put down.

  3. Hi Bloggincurly! James M. Cain is regarded by many as the founding father of hardboiled. He shines a ruthless light on human nature and always manages to surprise with his knowledge. Cain tears aside the thin veil of civility cloaking men and women, which is not recommended reading for the faint of heart or children. Thanks for the plug on Beat to a Pulp, and for honoring James M. Cain.

  4. Dave C.: If I don't get too many interruptions, I'll read the story on BTAP today, and I'll have to check out Mr. Cain again, since I don't remember that much about his writing.

    Anon-9: You're welcome. Very well said "the thin veil of civility". The movie "The Postman Always Rings Twice" was restricted to those age 16 and above when it first came out due to the sex and dialogue, although I thought it was pretty tame when I sneaked in to watch it and today it would just be ordinary in that regard.

    Evan: He certainly stuck in my mind over the years, even though his writing escapes me. (I think age is a factor in that.)