Deception

Deception

DVD - 2008
Average Rating:
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World War II has separated pianist Christine Radcliffe from her great love, cellist Karel Novak. Thinking Karel has been killed in action, she is unexpectedly reunited with him. Now, Christine desperately strives to hide her wartime dalliance as the mistress of a wealthy, sadistic composer. She'll lie to keep her shameful past a secret.

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m
mswrite
May 14, 2016

I will watch any movie in which Claude Rains--reportedly Bette Davis's favorite actor and dear friend--appears, because he is that versatile and wonderful a performer. This is true whether he is kind and supportive, as he was with Davis in the classy, classic "Now, Voyager" or here in "Deception" in which he is clearly the villain.

That said, I found this movie rather exasperating. A lot of eye-rolling as I watched this movie. Don't get me wrong, I love a good melodrama, even when it's operatically over-the-top (which probably is the definition of a good melodrama). But Davis is too old for the part she's playing in "Deception," a kept woman who reunites unexpectedly with her lost Great Love ("Now, Voyager" co-star Paul Henreid) and panics like a teenager, resorting to murder, in her determination to keep from him the truth about her relationship with Rains.

Come to that, Henreid isn't all that believable either as a gifted, highly strung musician who has come back seemingly from the dead (it's hinted that he suffered horribly during the war though specific details are avoided) and swallows whole Bette's improbable explanations for the uber-lavishness of her lifestyle.
Though this film is not contemporary, I couldn't help questioning whether post-war adult audiences of the day (1946) would truly have been so shocked at the love affair the obviously worldly Davis spent the entire film trying to hide from Henried.
Rains, an actor with a gift for understatement, comes perilously close to camp but his megalomaniacal wickedness is enjoyable anyway.

Sandrine1949 Aug 18, 2015

A very interesting movie...

... and different from other usual Davis foray.

Reprising the cast from the wonderful NowVoyager, Deception has, as its backdrop, the world of classical/serious music and music-making/concertizing, creating a unique setting for the ensuing drama.

Filming using Film Noir techniques... especially those pertaining to lighting, this film certainly has its atmospheric moments... though to describe the film best, probably the term "psychological drama" is most apt. The primary trio of actors: BDavis, PHenreid and CRains
( too bad GladysCooper couldn't have somehow been worked-into the cast!), are the main protagonists, both men pivoting around a duplicitous Davis... though her duplicity is without malice. It is the Rains character, a megalomaniacal composer and maestro, who creates havoc... and who pays the ultimate price for it.

This film is definitely a MustSee for any Davis-devotee, though it must also be said that the film is very worthwhile on several levels; when viewing, please remember that this movie is based on a stage-play from the mid 1920s, and expresses the moral tone of that era.

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