66 user 19 critic

Deception (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 26 October 1946 (USA)
A piano teacher believes that her fiancé was killed on the battlefield. When he miraculously returns, they decide to marry, but are threatened by a wealthy, egotistical composer the piano teacher started dating on the rebound after she became convinced her love had died.


Irving Rapper




Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Christine Radcliffe
Paul Henreid ... Karel Novak
Claude Rains ... Alexander Hollenius
John Abbott ... Bertram Gribble
Benson Fong ... Jimmy
Learn more

More Like This 

A Stolen Life (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a woman's twin sister is drowned, she assumes her identity in order to be close to the man she feels her sister took from her years before.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Bette Davis, Glenn Ford, Dane Clark
The Great Lie (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Mary Astor
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The film is about divorce but with flashbacks as to why divorce occurs.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan, Jane Cowl
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A duchess' irrational behavior toward the governess of her children triggers tragic events that will change her family's lives forever.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Jeffrey Lynn
The Old Maid (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The arrival of an ex-lover on a young woman's wedding day sets in motion a chain of events which will alter her and her cousin's lives forever.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, George Brent
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Popular and beautiful Fanny Trellis is forced into a loveless marriage with an older man, Jewish banker Job Skeffington, in order to save her beloved brother Trippy from an embezzlement charge, and predictable complications result.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young
June Bride (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A magazine's staff, including bickering ex-lovers Linda and Carey, cover an Indiana wedding, which goes slightly wrong...

Director: Bretaigne Windust
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Montgomery, Fay Bainter
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The day before her wedding, a pampered young woman absconds with her sister's husband; in retaliation, her sister begins seeing the woman's former fiancé.

Directors: John Huston, Raoul Walsh
Stars: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, George Brent
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A schoolteacher becomes the mentor of a talented young miner and seeks to get him into a university.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, John Dall, Nigel Bruce
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A German-born engineer, his American wife and their children travel from Mexico to the United States to visit her family but their plans are complicated by a Romanian count.

Directors: Herman Shumlin, Hal Mohr
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Spinster poetess Susan Grieve lives in a Manhattan apartment where naval hero Slick Novak comes with her for a nightcap. Next morning they visit her Connecticut farm where Novak tells her ... See full summary »

Director: Bretaigne Windust
Stars: Bette Davis, Janis Paige, Jim Davis


Music teacher Christine Radcliffe thought her love Karel Novak died in the war. When he miraculously returns, she realizes she loves him more than ever and insists they marry. However, a wealthy composer, Hollenius with whom she had become involved after learning her real love had supposedly died, refuses to let her go and at her wedding reception offers Karel the chance to solo his new cello concerto and a chance at success... but is he planning to ruin Karel's music career and their marriage? Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SEE IT NOW! See Her Greatest! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When Davis first meets Henreid in his dressing room, the orchestra begins to play Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Schubert's picture can be seen hanging on the wall during that scene. See more »


A "dress rehearsal" is one where a production is run through with all aspects of the final performance (other than the paying audience, of course). At the dress rehearsal for the concerto, no one is wearing performance clothing, the lighting is full up, and the set is not arranged as it is for the actual performance. See more »


Christine Radcliffe: Oh, Alex, if only I could believe you.
Alexander Hollenius: That is a luxury beyond your present means, my dear. If you want to believe other people, you better give up lying yourself.
See more »


Referenced in All About Bette (1994) See more »


Cello Concerto in D major
Written by Joseph Haydn (as Franz Josef Haydn)
Performed by Paul Henreid (dubbed by Eleanor Slatkin)
See more »

User Reviews

Claude Rains at his apex!
19 April 2008 | by generalusgrantSee all my reviews

Any fan of classic movies must own a copy of this one, if only for Claude Rain's amazing performance. This man was brilliant in all of his films, but this slice of ham is truly high art from the Claudester. His character is an egotistical, sexy, hilarious conductor with the improbable name of Alex Hellonious. He spends his time lazing about in a dressing gown, petting a drugged kitty and taking biting innuendo and sarcasm to a level previously unseen on screen. No wonder Bette Davis was infatuated with this man. If his power in real life was 10% of what he exhibits on screen, then swooning is the definite order of the day.

In Deception, Rains plays Bette Davis' former lover and he won't let her forget it. Bette foolishly marries the dreary, deadly dull and insipid Paul Henreid, just as she did in Now, Voyager. One wonders why Bette was always making these ridiculous mistakes. She's still in love with Claude, however, since she makes two lengthy visits to his bedroom within one day of her wedding to Henreid. When she tells Rains, "it looks like you haven't been to bed," he snaps back, "That, my dear, is none of your concern any longer." Even more amazing is that the Hays office let some of this type of dialogue slip by unnoticed. Rarely has a film contained so many explicit sexual references and plot twists. When Bette visits Claude in his home while he's eating dinner, he says with devilish deliciousness, "Oh, my dear, you look ravishing. I think I'd better remain seated." It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out what he really meant. High camp indeed! There's another moment after Bette's marriage to Henreid that Claude is begging her to stay with him and keep their affair going. With a leering smile he says, "You can have us both, you know." Mr. Breen of the Hayes office was definitely asleep at the control panel when Warners pushed this baby through.

The highlight of the entire movie is a hilarious scene of 7 minutes in a restaurant. Claude orders and re-orders various ridiculously rich foods and says things like, "We'd like a brook trout, not too large. From a good stream." He also fusses endlessly over whether to order partridges with truffles or glazed partridges soaked in Madeira. He finally decides on a "woodcock!" Bette and Henreid look on with rueful expressions because this type of acting blows them out of the water. Truly, this is one of the most adroitly acted scenes in movie history and that's not hyperbole. There is an option of having additional commentary, and the fellow claims "Bette Davis allowed Mr. Rains to steal this scene." Pardon me, but as riveting as Bette was, there's no way she's going to eclipse Rains in any movie, as she herself freely admitted.

The film itself is fairly good but very dull when Henreid shows up, but you treasure this one for Claude Rains' performance. If there's been a better actor in movie history, I've never seen him.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 66 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

26 October 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Her Conscience See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed