Friday, 10 September 2010

Deception, Struggling Cellists, And Sadistic Composers... What More Could You Want?

I love Deception. It has everything a film noir needs: classic dark shots, the creepy world of classical music in the background, direction from the man who directed Now Voyager, and of course a cast including greats such as Bette Davis and Paul Henried.

The film starts with Christine Radcliffe (Bette Davis) running up the stairs of a college concert hall in New York in the rain. She slips into the auditorium, and her eyes fill with tears as she recognises the cellist on centre stage. He is Karol Novak (Paul Henried), her past love that has been trapped in neutral sweden for the duration of WWII. When he comes out of the hall, he is bombarded with questions by college news paper reporters, and one asks him who his favourite composers are. He answers with a list of famous composers and ends with "And of course Hollenius." While he is sitting in his dressing room, he spots Christine outside his door and their eyes meet in the mirror, they run towards each other and embrace as Christine says "I thought you where dead! I saw them kill you," (of course this is said with much emotion and Bette Davis crying). She takes him back to her apartment, and on the way she explains to him how she hasn't been doing very well financially since she moved to New York, but the decor and furniture in her so called "apartment" (more like large penthouse) suggest otherwise.

They get married almost instantly, but their wedding is disturbed by a dramatic entrance by Alex Hollenius (Claude Rains) and it is obvious that he is very jealous. Thereafter he pretty much succeeds in ruining their marraige (Christine's lies do nothing to help the situation either) unil finally, PLOT SPOILER Christine shoots him to make sure Karol never finds out about her lies and her liason with Alex while he was trapped in Sweden.

Bette and John Abbot having a smoke during a break.
This film is one of those film noirs that never get boring no matter how many times you watch it. Yesterday was I think my 5th time watching it and I still love it. The dubbing of Bette Davis' piano playing and Paul Henried cello playing is very good, and the Hollenius cello concerto written for the film was very good too. I tried to convince my friend (my only other Bette Davis club member) to take up the cello again by saying "Oh come on! Paul had Bette crying in the audience! And his slick quiff was all falling apart in a very umm, awsomesauce way," needless to say her answer was a flat "Bette, do I really want to look like Paul Henried? If you hadn't noticed; I am a girl. And why would I have a quiff anyway?" Well, my cello talent scouting dreams are crushed. But hey, who needs to scout for cello players when they can scout for sadistic composers instead? Hmmmmm, now where to find sadistic composers... I digress. Any readers out there who are looking for a new film to watch, or you have it on your shelf but haven't seen it yet, do watch it!

Here is a link to the trailer on YouTube


P.S. I got deception in a Bette box set which came with: The Old Maid, All This And Heaven Too, Watch On The Rhine (haven't seen that yet though), Deception, In This Our Life, and The Great Lie. I also have another one of her box sets. Search into amazon "Bette Davis Collection Vol. 3" for the one I listed, and "The Bette Davis Collection" for the other one. So I'm not sure if you can get Deception on its own.


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