Journeyman director Peter Godfrey’s uninvolving remake of a romantic quadrangle story first made in 1935 (two brothers/two girls) opens in a lighthearted vein (with everyone playing too hard) before taking a forced tragic turn. The writing however is consistent, lousy all the way thru. We’re in studio backlot Venice, where a clean-shaven Errol Flynn is the talented, struggling composer whose relationship with single-mom Ida Lupino is threatened by his eye for the ladies. Seriously so when he meets-cute with Eleanor Parker’s rich society lady who just happens to be engaged to Gig Young, Flynn’s less talented brother. (Gig sports the missing Flynn mustache.*) Hopefully this foursome will work things out in time for the premiere of Flynn’s make-or-break ballet score. Not much convinces in this one, with airless soundstage mountain exteriors that wouldn’t pass for scenery in Flynn’s ballet; and back-and-forth romantic vows looking equally flat. Only the filmscore, an exceptionally melodic one from Erich Wolfgang Korngold holds interest. Korngold had stopped his concert & opera house composing during the war years, but as the war wound down, so too did his movie work. This, his second to last original film score (and last to be released) was followed only by another classical music story, DECEPTION/’46. An altogether better (if nuttier) film with a mini-cello concerto as its centerpiece, one he later expanded for the concert hall.
ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: *Pay no attention to that man in the poster, Flynn is sans ‘stache in this one which somehow makes him look altogether bigger.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: As mentioned above, for fans of Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains & ultra-stylish New York apartments, DECEPTION.