Rage in Heaven
Rage in Heaven is a 1941 American psychological thriller film noir about the destructive power of jealousy. It was directed by W.S. Van Dyke and based on the novel by James Hilton. It features Robert Montgomery, Ingrid Bergman, and George Sanders.
|Rage in Heaven|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||W.S. Van Dyke|
Robert B. Sinclair
|Produced by||Gottfried Reinhardt|
|Screenplay by||Christopher Isherwood|
|Based on||the novel|
by James Hilton
|Music by||Bronislau Kaper|
|Cinematography||Oliver T. Marsh|
George J. Folsey
|Edited by||Harold F. Kress|
At a mental institution in Paris, Doctor Rameau (Oscar Homolka) discusses with the British consul the case of a man who identifies himself as Ward Andrews. The doctor believes Andrews to be English and wants the consul's assistance in verifying this. Outwardly the man may seem sane, but underneath he suffers from paranoia, suicidal tendencies and is capable of murder. The doctor takes the consul to meet Andrews, but they discover he has escaped.
Phillip Monrell (Robert Montgomery) and his former college roommate Ward Andrews (George Sanders) run into each other in London and Monrell invites his old friend back to his family home. When they arrive, they meet Stella Bergen (Ingrid Bergman), the secretary of Phillip's mother (Lucile Watson). Both men are strongly attracted to her. She is friendly with the more responsible, hardworking Ward but prefers and marries the idle Phillip instead. Ward leaves for a job in Scotland.
Phillip is put in charge of the family steel mill but is not suited to the position. He begins to exhibit signs of mental illness, in particular, abnormal suspicion that his wife and Ward are in love. Despite this jealousy, he invites Ward for a visit and hires him to be the chief engineer at the mill. Eventually, Phillip's paranoia drives him to try to kill his perceived rival at work. Ward confronts him, admits his love for Stella, quits the steel mill, and returns to London.
After a frightening moment with her husband, Stella leaves him and goes to Ward. Phillip promises to grant her a divorce if Ward will return to talk with him in person. Having prepared a plan designed to frame Ward, Phillip provokes a loud argument with him which he knows is being overheard by a servant.
Afterwards, Phillip kills himself, after ensuring that Ward will be arrested for murder. Ward is convicted and sentenced to be executed. The day before the execution, Stella is visited by Dr. Rameau. He has seen a photo of Phillip in a newspaper and informs her that her husband was a patient who masqueraded as Ward Andrews and escaped from the institution. He is convinced that Phillip committed suicide and that he would have left some message bragging about it. Phillip's mother reveals that her son kept diaries; then, Clark (Aubrey Mather), the butler, remembers that he mailed a package to Paris the night Ward visited and Phillip died. Stella and Rameau take a flight to France and find the book, which exonerates Ward.
Film critic Dennis Schwartz was disappointed with the film and wrote about the problems on the set: "MGM forced Montgomery to make this pic under threat of suspending him and cutting his studio salary. ... Montgomery wanted time off the seven-year contract for a vacation. To get even with the studio Montgomery decided to just read his lines in a deadpan manner and not act. This ruse didn't help a pic that needed all the help it could get, as the plot was far-fetched and the melodramatics were stilted."
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