CAT OF THE DAY 048: DECEPTION (1946)
Claude Rains plays brilliant composer Alexander Hollenius, who is madly jealous when Bette Davis, his musical “protégée” (and we’re left in no doubt what that really means – the floosie has a wardrobe simply stuffed with fur coats) marries a cellist (Paul Henreid).
Hollenius has a very well-behaved Siamese cat, who figures in a couple of scenes, snoozing on a cushion or bed. Rains, in character, imposes his will on it by petting it quite maniacally, but it seems to enjoy this, and even holds its position without messing up continuity during several complicated exchanges of dialogue punctuated by camera dollies and zooms.
But for once, it’s hard to concentrate on the cat, since Rains – a riot of wild hair, untrammelled piano-playing and outrageous lounging around in dressing-gowns – is giving one of the most deliciously fruity performances in the history of cinema and it’s hard to tear your eyes away from him. He makes even Bette Davis look as though she’s underplaying.
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Zooms? Are you SURE?
But I must watch this. Rains in full flow is unbeatable.
I was being facetious – the shot I had in mind is probably a dolly-out. Please watch the film and advise.
I first stumbled across this film on French TV. Here’s a taste of Rains’s performance – awful quality clip, but he’s being so outrageous you barely notice… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8xbRe8VN4s
Claude Rains also appears with a cat in the 1956 movie LISBON. Mr. Rains showed a strong feline character in many of his films
I just watched this for the first time on TCM and quickly grew bored with the puny plot of petty jealousy and secrets. Claude Rains is always fun to watch, but I got more enjoyment from looking at what surrounded the actors, including the beautiful Siamese cat. There’s also a nifty Javanese lamp in Bette’s gorgeous flat that I’ve spotted in other WB films.
Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I loved all the jealousy and secrets, but that’s me. And I could probably happily watch Claude Rains reading from the telephone directory.
I guess I’m being contrary. Others I know love the film, too. I just found the plot silly; storm and fury for it’s own sake with little else to hold it together. But I did enjoy Rains (as I always do); and I thought John Abbott in his brief scene in the taxi with Bette was excellent.
I’m enjoying your blog, by the way. Good concept delivered with humor and finesse. Thanks.
Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated.