Stars: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Larenz Tate, Olivia Williams, James Russo
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 177 minutes
Ossessione isn't just the finest film version of The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain's classic tale of murder, betrayal, and erotic obsession; it's also the first masterpiece of Italian neorealism and a key historical precursor of film noir. A handsome drifter (Massimo Girotti) fetches up at an isolated roadhouse, gets mutually besotted with the proprietor's sultry wife (Clara Calamai), and has soon carried out a plot to murder the older man in an apparent off-road accident. That's only the beginning, of course. In his directorial debut, Luchino Visconti weaves a sensuous, tragic spell, born equally of the stark, sun-struck settings--especially those utterly realistic yet somehow otherworldly highways, elevated above the surrounding marshland--and a dynamic camera style that lifts the storytelling to operatic heights. Yet another layer of erotic complication is added by the presence of "La Spagnolo" (Elio Marcuzzo), a philosopher-king of vagabonds who--like the director--is at least as infatuated with Girotti's studly beauty as the heroine is. --Richard T. Jameson
Once more into the breach, my friends, once more. We'll close the wall with our dead. In peace, nothing so becomes a man as modesty and humility, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with rage and lend the eye a terrible aspect.
Law one. You will obey orders without question. Law two: Punishment shall be swift. Law three: Mercy is for the weak. Four: Terror will defeat reason. Five: Your allegiance is to the clan. Six: Justice can be dictated. Seven: Any clansman may challenge for leadership of the clan. Law eight: There is only one penalty. Death.