Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 3

Two movies last Sunday, as the art theme of the day was classical music.

DECEPTION (1946): Christine Radcliffe (Bette Davis) and Karel Novak (Paul Henreid) are old lovers and musicians. She thought he had died in the war, but it turns out he's alive. And that's wonderful...and complicated. Because see, while Karel was away and thought dead, she had hooked up with famous composer Alexander Hollenius (Claude Rains, who is the true star of the picture. Oh yeah, and with Henreid and Rains, it's a mini CASABLANCA reunion.) And Karel...he's the jealous type. But he has nothing but admiration for Hollenius' work, and knows he's the only cellist talented enough to play his new composition. And so Hollenius has some power over them both, and a power he wields with delicious wickedness, twisting them in the wind, knowing just how to destroy them in the best possible way.

HUMORESQUE (1946): John Garfield stars as Paul Boray, a kid from the slums, son of a shop owner who has a talent for classical music. Joan Crawford co-stars as Helen Wright, a socialite born with a silver flask in her mouth, who takes a liking to Paul and helps him become a star. But the whole show is stolen by Oscar Levant as Sid Jeffers, a wise-cracking pianist (that "silver flask" line is his) and Paul's oldest friend. There's a love triangle, with Paul going for the completely unstable Helen Wright over the nice Gina (Joan Chandler) who is his friend from the music institute. And the acting is all top-notch, but I didn't care. I just cracked up any time Sid Jeffers spoke, and wanted more of that. Maybe there's not much of a story if there's nothing but a wise-cracking pianist making jokes. But it was all I could think about afterwards.

Total Running Time: 240 minutes
My Total Minutes: 415,060
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