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So last night TCM showed "Tension" in prime time - being relatively new to classic films but liking noir I gave it a chance although I had never heard of it before.  I thought it was really good except for the ending which both left me confused (as to motive, police procedure) and sappy.  Can someone more knowledgeable explain this?

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2 hours ago, Barry S said:

So last night TCM showed "Tension" in prime time - being relatively new to classic films but liking noir I gave it a chance although I had never heard of it before.  I thought it was really good except for the ending which both left me confused (as to motive, police procedure) and sappy.  Can someone more knowledgeable explain this?

First I have to ask;  is the user-name of Barry S related to the film?    

The Police Lieutenant (Barry Sullivan) showing sexual interested in Claire:  was this contrived from the start to try to trap her or was he really interested in having her,  but at the same time was still suspicious that she might be the killer?   It sure looks like he lured her into retrieving the gun by telling her how important it was.   Therefore as a cop he wasn't very ethical.   

With regards to pretending that all the furnishings had been replaced:   the cops needed to trick Claire because while they knew there was NO gun in the room after they searched it,  either Warren, Claire or Mary could have put the gun in the room after the search.    But the stunt came off like what we see at the end of Perry Manson;  the killer gives up way to easily.   

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Watched it again as I had not seen it in a while.  While a first time viewer may think Sullivan is actually pursuing a relationship with Totter, it becomes obvious at the end that he was setting her up the whole time.  Course I watch Perry Mason and Law and Order frequently and they use the same tactics.

White Totter may have given up too easily, it is a short movie.  I think things happen way too quickly in many movies from that era when they want to wind it up.  I think Totter just saw the handwriting on the wall at the end and gave up.  Her motive for killing Deager was that he was about to throw her out.

Of course as a movie, they took liberties with a lot of things.  Although the police procedures probably were not that different from real life.  It was way before "rights" became an issue.

It was a good movie and well acted, although Basehart was not too impressive to me.  While his role was supposed to be wimpy, he was way too wimpy.  Then he had a massive character change when he briefly encountered Charisse and became a whole 'nother person-too quickly.

The part about the contacts was sort of interesting.  I remember trying a pair in 1965.  Most miserable months of my life.  Never able to wear them for more than a couple of hours and finally gave up.  I did get mine from an ophthalmologist who had a specialist in his office to fit and adjust them.  I can only imagine what they were like in 1949.

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19 minutes ago, TheCid said:

Watched it again as I had not seen it in a while.  While a first time viewer may think Sullivan is actually pursuing a relationship with Totter, it becomes obvious at the end that he was setting her up the whole time.  Course I watch Perry Mason and Law and Order frequently and they use the same tactics.

White Totter may have given up too easily, it is a short movie.  I think things happen way too quickly in many movies from that era when they want to wind it up.  I think Totter just saw the handwriting on the wall at the end and gave up.  Her motive for killing Deager was that he was about to throw her out.

Of course as a movie, they took liberties with a lot of things.  Although the police procedures probably were not that different from real life.  It was way before "rights" became an issue.

It was a good movie and well acted, although Basehart was not too impressive to me.  While his role was supposed to be wimpy, he was way too wimpy.  Then he had a massive character change when he briefly encountered Charisse and became a whole 'nother person-too quickly.

The part about the contacts was sort of interesting.  I remember trying a pair in 1965.  Most miserable months of my life.  Never able to wear them for more than a couple of hours and finally gave up.  I did get mine from an ophthalmologist who had a specialist in his office to fit and adjust them.  I can only imagine what they were like in 1949.

I agree with your take here;  this leaves only one mystery;   did the cop have sex with her?     She was very sexual and likely to be sexual with a man after only knowing him a very brief time, so I assume they did the deed. 

Thus the cop got his killer and some nice booty;  what a nice package deal for him!

 

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5 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I agree with your take her;  this leaves only one mystery;   did the cop have sex with her?     She was very sexual and likely to be sexual with a man after only knowing them a very brief time, so I assume they did the deed. 

Thus the cop got his killer and some nice booty;  what a nice package deal for him!

 

If it was made today, they probably might have had sex.  However, that would create a whole lot of problems with trying the case.  Lying and deceiving is one thing, but sex crosses the line with judges and juries and I think would in a movie.

Personally, I don't think they had sex.  That raises the question-did Charisse and Basehart have sex?  They were getting married.

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23 minutes ago, TheCid said:

If it was made today, they probably might have had sex.  However, that would create a whole lot of problems with trying the case.  Lying and deceiving is one thing, but sex crosses the line with judges and juries and I think would in a movie.

Personally, I don't think they had sex.  That raises the question-did Charisse and Basehart have sex?  They were getting married.

Funny but I had a comment about entrapment but removed it.  But yea,  sex crosses the line and could have made it more difficult to get a conviction.

That being said,  I can't see them not having sex because it would have tipped her off that something was fishy.   Like I said she was highly sexual;   they were spending late nights together getting drunk.    Hard to believe she didn't openly desire sex and if he denied her,   he couldn't explain 'well,  because you still might be the killer and I don't wish to cross a line if I have to arrest you'.    I.e. to gain her trust he had to have sex. 

 

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21 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Funny but I had a comment about entrapment but removed it.  But yea,  sex crosses the line and could have made it more difficult to get a conviction.

That being said,  I can't see them not having sex because it would have tipped her off that something was fishy.   Like I said she was highly sexual;   they were spending late nights together getting drunk.    Hard to believe she didn't openly desire sex and if he denied her,   he couldn't explain 'well,  because you still might be the killer and I don't wish to cross a line if I have to arrest you'.    I.e. to gain her trust he had to have sex. 

 

Can't wait to see that one in the news!  Ha.??

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5 hours ago, Barry S said:

So last night TCM showed "Tension" in prime time - being relatively new to classic films but liking noir I gave it a chance although I had never heard of it before.  I thought it was really good except for the ending which both left me confused (as to motive, police procedure) and sappy.  Can someone more knowledgeable explain this?

I just got into film noir around a year and a half ago. Tension was one of the first noirs I saw.  Its STILL one of the best I've seen.  I feel its VERY underrated.  Everything is excellent here.  The plot and cinematography shine.  The acting also shines.  It should be a more well known film.  I ranked it a 8 out of 10...

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1 hour ago, Moorman said:

I just got into film noir around a year and a half ago. Tension was one of the first noirs I saw.  Its STILL one of the best I've seen.  I feel its VERY underrated.  Everything is excellent here.  The plot and cinematography shine.  The acting also shines.  It should be a more well known film.  I ranked it a 8 out of 10...

Ah,  the use of 'underrated':  by who?   But I'll spare you my soap-box speech about why I don't like the term 'underrated'  (and you should be thankful,  ha ha).  

Anyhow,  the Film noir books I have read praise the film and view it as an excellent noir (clearly one of the best from MGM).      The film didn't do well at the box-office when released and that may be part of the reason it isn't very well known.     Also John Berry the director doesn't have much of a film legacy.  

But us noir-nuts at this forum know about the film and I have mostly seen praise for it.     Those that don't know about it;  well that is their lost.   

Note that another think I like about the film is the differences between the two women;  both have their 'selling' points as it relates to their looks and sexual appeal,  but each has very different attributes. 

 

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