Monday, February 28, 2011
Deception - 1946
Rest easy, no plot spoilers this time. There’s not much to pluck apart when it’s all handed to us with grandiose panache on a platter.
The characters display a passion for their work, a passion for life, and also for revenge.
But not all the music in this movie is so grand. Curiously, as Bette is walking Paul Henreid to her apartment for the first time, they cross a city street where a Salvation Army band is thumping out “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, and in another scene, she listens to a cheesy radio commercial jingle. What director Irving Rapper meant to suggest with these bits is a mystery to me, except to keep things off kilter, which is the engine of suspense.
A few interesting scenes: When he takes them out to dinner and makes a grand production ordering the food, irritating them both and putting Paul Henreid, who is to audition for him after dinner, extremely on edge. One of the more delightfully over-the-top remarks by Mr. Rains when he orders, “A nice brook trout, not too large, from a good stream.”
We have scenes of disguised threats and vengeful accusations, of suspicions declared, and self indulgent tantrums that takes us smoothly from concert hall to Rains’ uptown mansion, to cab rides in the rain, and many times returning to Bette Davis’ loft studio apartment.
A scene where she and Henreid talk to each other from opposite ends of a hallway leading to the bathroom, where she primps before the mirror, and we can hear the hollow echo of her voice bouncing off the cement block walls.