Thursday, December 11, 2008

A pocket diary and an exchange name

Deception (dir. Irving Rapper, 1946) is a semi-wonderful movie whose three stars — Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains — make melodrama into grand art. Davis and Henreid play Christine Radcliffe and Karel Novak, musicians and reunited lovers; Rains is Alexander Hollenius, a jealous composer whose character is reminiscent of Waldo Lydecker in Laura (1944). There are great concert scenes and two astonishing interiors — Radcliffe's ultra-modern apartment and Hollenius' palatial one.

The movie also features a pocket diary and a telephone exchange name, both of which appear in the context of a cab ride.

["If you're really interested, I can tell you his exact words": cellist Bertram Gribble (John Abott) tells Christine Radcliffe what Alexander Hollenius said about Gribble's performance of the composer's new cello concerto.]

There are two other shots in which the "PLaza 1-2000" on Christine's cab is more prominent, but I like this one best, with the PLatonic ideal of a Manhattan exchange name framed by steps.

I like the neon cursive "Woolens" at Buell and Co. too.

More notebook sightings
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
The House on 92nd Street
Journal d'un curé de campagne
The Palm Beach Story
Pickup on South Street
Red-Headed Woman
The Sopranos

More exchange names
Baby Face
Born Yesterday
The Man Who Cheated Himself
Nightmare Alley

comments: 5

normann said...

What makes those Warner Bros. films noirs so much fun, besides the lush B&W photography, is the rat-a-tat dialogue.

Michael Leddy said...

And how.

I'm not sure I'd call this one film noir though — I'd say it's more an example of the "women's picture."

Bardiac said...

The first phone number I learned was an exchange; and oddly enough, I still remember it. Why did we stop using them?

Michael Leddy said...

Hi Bardiac,

From the Wikipedia article Telephone exchange names: "As demand for phone service grew, the supply of assignable phone numbers began to dwindle, and several North American area codes were split to enable reuse of numbers. As the growth accelerated, the decision was made to switch to All-Number Calling (ANC), since there were several unpronounceable letter combinations that were not being used."

I've begun putting the exchange-name version of my office telephone number on my syllabi, though I also include the seven-digit version for clarity.

Bardiac said...

Oh, what a fun idea!

I should try that :)