James M. Cain‘s novel The Postman Always Rings Twice has been one of the most frequently adapted books since its publication in 1934. Of the four films it has inspired, the 1946 version starring Lana Turner and John Garfield is the best known, but but the most influential might be Luchino Visconti‘s 1942 Obsessione. First transplanted on to film as Pierre Chenal‘s Le Dernier Tournant (The Last Turn), Cain’s classic noir tale about a drifter and his lover conspiring to kill her loathsome, much older husband, found its way into Visconti’s hands courtesy of the French director Jean Renoir.
Obsessione moves the story from rural California to the Italian countryside at the height of the Mussolini regime. Blacklisted by the fascist government, Visconti’s film was seized and destroyed save one copy of the negative which became the master print of what may very well be the earliest feature-length example of Italian neorealism. Bleak and unsentimental, Obsessione would serve as a forerunner to Michelangelo Antonini, Roberto Rossellini and Visconti’s own post-war work.
At the National Gallery of Art East Wing. 4th Street NW. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Free.
Dick Dyszel might have taken his stage name “Count Gore De Vol” from the DeVol Funeral Home on Wisconsin Avenue or it might be a pun on Gore Vidal, but for many years on WDCA as the region’s eminent horror host, Dyszel influenced a generation of Fangoria readers and wannabe Cryptkeepers. Dyszel moved himself to Chicago and his show to the Internet 12 years ago (his website is a relic of the Geocities era), though he can still be found at the occasional fan convention like Balticon.
The impact of Count Gore De Vol, Captain 20 and other characters Dyszel played over his tenure on local airwaves are recounted in Every Other Day Is Halloween, a retrospective documentary of found footage from the WDCA archives and interviews with Dyszel fans including 30 Days of Night Scribe Steve Niles and Heavy Metal Parking Lot director Jeff Krulik.
At the Artisphere. 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington. Tonight, 8 p.m. $10.