Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Music / Romance / Thriller
Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Music / Romance / Thriller
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Music teacher Christine Radcliffe thought her love Karel Novak died in the war. When he miraculously returns, she realizes she loves him more than ever and insists they marry. However, a wealthy composer, Hollenius with whom she had become involved after learning her real love had supposedly died, refuses to let her go and at her wedding reception offers Karel the chance to solo his new cello concerto and a chance at success... but is he planning to ruin Karel's music career and their marriage? —Ed Stephan.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Aug 15, 2021 at 05:08 PM
grade Movie Reviews
A way underrated treasure
How did I never come across Deception (1946) before? It's got to be Claude Rains' most delicious role. He absolutely has a blast playing the grand, tyrannical, jealous composer who hates giving Bette up to Paul Henreid, her former lover who has just returned from Europe at the end of the war. Both men are wickedly jealous of each other. The scene where the great composer unexpectedly arrives at Bette's and Paul's festive wedding party at her great loft apartment overlooking the river in New York (modeled on Leonard Bernstein's apartment) and trades poisonous banter with Bette and Paul makes the movie worth it by itself. But every scene is a gem, such as the scene where Claude takes them to a haute cuisine French restaurant and spends 10 minutes going back and forth over whether to order pheasant, trout, or saddle of lamb and whether to go with a Hermitage or a Vosne Romanee wine. This is some of the sharpest, wittiest dialogue I've seen in a movie, rivaling Ernst Lubitsch and every bit as good as in All About Eve. Oh, and I forgot to mention the amazingly good symphony performance scenes, with an original cello concerto by Korngold, ("played" by Henreid with the arms of two real cellists reaching in from either side to play the instrument). And Bette, a trained pianist, playing Beethoven at her wedding party (she really wanted to play it herself but Jack Warner decided against it but you can see she knows what she's doing in fingering the keys). If you haven't seen it, do check it out.
Claude Rains at his apex!
Any fan of classic movies must own a copy of this one, if only for Claude Rain's amazing performance. This man was brilliant in all of his films, but this slice of ham is truly high art from the Claudester. His character is an egotistical, sexy, hilarious conductor with the improbable name of Alex Hellonious. He spends his time lazing about in a dressing gown, petting a drugged kitty and taking biting innuendo and sarcasm to a level previously unseen on screen. No wonder Bette Davis was infatuated with this man. If his power in real life was 10% of what he exhibits on screen, then swooning is the definite order of the day.In Deception, Rains plays Bette Davis' former lover and he won't let her forget it. Bette foolishly marries the dreary, deadly dull and insipid Paul Henreid, just as she did in Now, Voyager. One wonders why Bette was always making these ridiculous mistakes. She's still in love with Claude, however, since she makes two lengthy visits to his bedroom within one day of her wedding to Henreid. When she tells Rains, "it looks like you haven't been to bed," he snaps back, "That, my dear, is none of your concern any longer." Even more amazing is that the Hays office let some of this type of dialogue slip by unnoticed. Rarely has a film contained so many explicit sexual references and plot twists. When Bette visits Claude in his home while he's eating dinner, he says with devilish deliciousness, "Oh, my dear, you look ravishing. I think I'd better remain seated." It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out what he really meant. High camp indeed! There's another moment after Bette's marriage to Henreid that Claude is begging her to stay with him and keep their affair going. With a leering smile he says, "You can have us both, you know." Mr. Breen of the Hayes office was definitely asleep at the control panel when Warners pushed this baby through.The highlight of the entire movie is a hilarious scene of 7 minutes in a restaurant. Claude orders and re-orders various ridiculously rich foods and says things like, "We'd like a brook trout, not too large. From a good stream." He also fusses endlessly over whether to order partridges with truffles or glazed partridges soaked in Madeira. He finally decides on a "woodcock!" Bette and Henreid look on with rueful expressions because this type of acting blows them out of the water. Truly, this is one of the most adroitly acted scenes in movie history and that's not hyperbole. There is an option of having additional commentary, and the fellow claims "Bette Davis allowed Mr. Rains to steal this scene." Pardon me, but as riveting as Bette was, there's no way she's going to eclipse Rains in any movie, as she herself freely admitted.The film itself is fairly good but very dull when Henreid shows up, but you treasure this one for Claude Rains' performance. If there's been a better actor in movie history, I've never seen him.
Strong Passions That Lead To Murder
Rainy Manhattan streets, shadowy interiors and expressionistic cinematography all contribute to the dark atmosphere of this romantic melodrama in which deception, jealousy and fear are prevalent throughout. Its story about a love triangle that involves classical musicians is characterised by mendacity, suspicion and passions that run so high that they eventually lead to murder and there's also an ever-present tension that exists because the stakes are so high for everyone involved.As it's based on the play "Monsieur Lamberthier" by Louis Verneuil, it's no surprise that some passages of the movie are stagy but on the more positive side, it also features a superior script with lots of witty dialogue to enjoy.Struggling pianist Christine Radcliffe (Bette Davis) and talented cello player Karel Novak (Paul Henreid) are thrilled to meet up again in New York City after a long separation. The couple had known each other in Europe during World War 11 and Christine had returned home believing that her lover had been killed. After she takes Karel back to her penthouse apartment in Manhattan, he's suitably impressed but also wonders how she can afford to live in such surroundings and to pay for the fur coats that he sees in her wardrobe. She tells him that she gets well paid for giving piano lessons to students from well-off families.The couple decide to get married without delay and during their wedding party are surprised by the arrival of world-famous composer Alexander Hollenious (Claude Rains) who, as Christine's mentor, says he's concerned about how marriage might affect her dedication to her musical development and also mentions that Christine has never given piano lessons professionally. Hollenious has an overbearing manner and is obviously bitter and jealous about Christine getting married. His conduct at the party becomes so inappropriate that, after his departure, the other guests quickly disperse.Christine, who for some years had been enjoying the material benefits of being Hollenious' mistress, fears that he might tell Karel about their affair and when he offers Karel the opportunity to perform the cello solo in his newly-composed concerto, Christine becomes very suspicious of his motives. Knowing what Hollenious is capable of, she fears that he might be using the situation as a means to damage her new husband's career but the way in which subsequent events unfold, prove to be full of surprises for Christine, Karel and Hollenious.Acting styles obviously change over the years but Claude Rains' performance in this movie is so outrageously entertaining that it transcends any such concerns. The impact he makes in the wedding party scene and at a dinner that Hollenious arranges (purely to disconcert Karel) before the rehearsal for the new concerto, is absolutely tremendous as he dominates both scenes completely. Bette Davis looks shifty as she has to keep telling lie after lie to conceal her secret and Paul Henreid looks troubled throughout as a man who becomes suspicious of both Christine and Hollenious and struggles to cope with his fragile mental and emotional state (which is a consequence of his experiences during the War)."Deception" features some good camera-work with numerous well-framed shots and effective camera angles playing their part in enhancing the action. Interesting use is also made of mirrors, for example when Karel sees Christine for the first time and in a sequence where Christine, looking at her reflection, smoothly changes to Hollenious doing the same thing. This movie isn't a classic but is nevertheless, very enjoyable both for its entertaining plot and Rains' exceptional performance.
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