- 1 hr 35 min
Tension is a gripping film noir from 1949 starring Richard Basehart, Audrey Totter, and Cyd Charisse. The movie revolves around a mild-mannered pharmacist named Warren Quimby (played by Basehart) and his seductive wife, Claire (played by Totter). Warren is deeply in love with his wife, but she's bored with their mundane life and desires a more glamorous and exciting lifestyle. When Claire starts seeing a wealthy man named Barney Deager (played by Barry Sullivan), Warren becomes jealous and paranoid. His mind starts to unravel, and he starts planning a way to get rid of Deager and win back his wife's affections.
As Warren's obsession with Claire intensifies, the tension in the movie builds. He starts living a double life, creating a fake identity to seduce and kill Deager. Meanwhile, a sultry nightclub singer named Mary Chanler (played by Charisse) catches Warren's eye, adding to the complex web of relationships and conflicts.
The film is a classic example of film noir, with its ominous lighting and morally ambiguous characters. Warren is not the typical protagonist, as he's not necessarily a good person, but the viewer can't help but feel some sympathy for him. Basehart's portrayal of Warren is excellent, and he convincingly captures the character's descent into madness. Audrey Totter is equally impressive as Claire, portraying her as a femme fatale who is both alluring and dangerous.
Apart from the excellent performances, the screenplay is also noteworthy. The story is tight and well-crafted, with several twists and turns that will keep the viewer engaged till the very end. The film's themes of jealousy, obsession, and paranoia make it a fascinating character study.
The movie also boasts a memorable score, with the jazz-infused music adding to the film's overall atmosphere. The cinematography is also impressive, with the camera lingering on the characters' faces to emphasize their emotions.
One of the film's strengths is its attention to detail. The viewer gets a glimpse into the characters' lives and motivations, with each detail carefully woven into the plot. For instance, Warren's job as a pharmacist plays a crucial role in the story, as he uses his expertise to concoct a deadly poison.
Despite being made over 70 years ago, Tension remains a relevant and engaging movie. It showcases the talent of the actors, the director, and the writer. This is a movie that both film noir buffs and casual moviegoers will enjoy. The movie's themes of love, betrayal, and murder are universal, making it a timeless classic. Overall, Tension is a must-watch for anyone interested in the film noir genre.