Davis plays a pianist, Christine Radcliffe. One day, she finds out that her boyfriend (Henried), Karel Novak, is not dead like she thought. She finds him and sees that he is still playing the cello, as he was before the war separated them. When he goes to her apartment, he finds it’s lavishly decorated with expensive paintings, furniture, and furs in her closet! Where did she get all this money, since she’s only a music teacher? Well, she says that they are gifts from her students, and he believes her.
Later, Karel and Christine marry. They have a wedding party, and suddenly Claude Rains (his character’s name is Hollenius) ‘crashes’ their party. He seems very upset, and Karel is a little confused. Hollenius talks about how he was her teacher for many years, and how he feels like she’s a daughter to him, but you can tell it was deeper then that!
That’s when the deceiving and lying start! She says that there is and never was anything between Hollenius and her, and he still buys it, but he is getting more skeptical as time goes by. Hollenius decides to help Karel out, by auditioning him in his orchestra. He makes it stressful for him, by constantly picking at him. Hollenius decides to hire him for a big concert he’s conducting, but Christine thinks he has something up his sleeve. She doesn’t think he’ll show. She decides to go to Hollenus’s house to make sure that he’s going to go, but when she gets there, she finds out how cruel and heartless he is. She runs up the stairs and grabs a gun. She threatens him, but he acts like he doesn’t care, and like she doesn’t have the guts the pull the trigger! I won’t say how this movie ends, but if your a Bette Davis fan, you can probably figure it out!
This was a very good movie, and I think Davis did a great job in it! Many people say that she ‘over-acted’ in this role, but that’s what made her, her! This isn’t exactly a film noir story, but the camera angles make it one. Their are many diagonal shots, and far off shots. Their are also a lot of shadows, and darkness. A couple intersting things to watch for is when ever Davis and Henrid are in a shot, their is normally something between them, like a window pane, or a piano, or even just a big space. Which shows how they aren’t really together, and their is something separating them. Davis often seems ‘trapped’ in things, like a piano, or a diagonal shot. Just like her lies are trapping her in her life. Also when Davis, Henrid, and Rains are in a shot together, Rains is always between them, showing how he keeps coming between them in their life. The more you watch it, the more you see these things! Also, if you have it on DVD, their is a GREAT audio commentary by Foster Hirsch. He talks about all these things, and it really teaches you the techniques of film noir!
I give this movie a A!