The Cheat

1931

Drama

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 67%
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 517

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 18, 2021 at 08:12 AM

Director

Cast

Tallulah Bankhead as Elsa Carlyle
Porter Hall as Leslie
720p.BLU
619.57 MB
1280*942
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 7 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 4 / 10

It manages something very tough--it's scandalous AND stupid!

In 1915, "The Cheat" debuted. It starred Fannie Ward and Sessue Hayakawa and was a very good film for its time. However, 16 years later, the plot which had once been pretty exciting was now pretty dumb--mostly because this sort of over-the-top melodrama was now passé and silly. Yet, oddly, despite a few changes, the original plot has been left intact--and makes for a very dated film.

Tallulah Bankhead, who was known mostly for her stage performances, plays the leading lady. This was tough for her, as the character was a very difficult one to put across to the audience. Why? Because she was a stupid and extremely foolish lady--and it was hard to like her or understand why her husband (Harvey Stevenson) liked her! So, when she stupidly gets into trouble and an evil lecher (Irving Pichel) comes to her 'aid', anyone with half a brain would see this would backfire--which it naturally did. However, HOW it backfires is where the plot really shows its great age!! He brands her--seriously!! She naturally didn't like it and shoots the jerk. After doing this, the characters ALL behave irrationally. She runs away (though it was clearly self-defense and she had the scars to prove it), the husband INSISTS on taking the blame and going to prison and the evil man, who survives, testifies that the husband shot him!!! Huh?! None of this made any sense and the viewer will most likely begin groaning pretty loudly near the end--the end result of having an ancient and outdated script shoved down our throats!!

While this is included in a Pre-Code collection, despite the story elements and implications, it isn't really all that salacious...just silly. It's watchable, but don't say I didn't warn you!!

Reviewed by bkoganbing 6 / 10

Harvey makes it, Tallulah spends it

Two people who did little work on the big screen and were primarily stage folks, director George Abbott and actress Tallulah Bankhead collaborated on this remake of Cecil B. DeMille's silent classic, The Cheat. It was so watered down that it could have been called The Occasionally Indiscreet.

Tallulah is married to Harvey Stephens and they're both of the upper classes and enjoy the privileges therein. It's Stephens who makes the money and Tallulah who spends it.

She loses a fortune in 1930s worth of $10,000.00 at the gaming tables. She's not able to go to her husband, the money to pay the debt comes from the wealthy Irving Pichel. And he wants to collect the debt in his own way, the same kind of indecent proposal that Robert Redford had in mind in that film.

Half of the drama of The Cheat is lost when we lose the racial component of the original DeMille film. Fannie Ward and Sessue Hayakawa played the roles that Bankhead and Pichel play here and back in the days of miscegenation laws the idea of a wealthy white woman becoming the bought for mistress of an Oriental merchant was shocking indeed in 1915. As a result this film is dependent on the skills of its players, especially Tallulah Bankhead who was certainly one unique personality.

Although Bette Davis was great and The Little Foxes is one of her top five performances in my humble opinion Tallulah who created the role of Regina Hubbard Giddens on stage would have really been special. That and so many other Bankhead performances were lost. If you want to see her at her best make sure to see Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.

This sound version of The Cheat is all right, but nothing special.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 5 / 10

Branded for who she doesn't belong to.

Give Tallulah Bankhead credit for having tried her hardest to break into the mold of the many exotic actressses suffering in sable in the early 1930's. Here, she's a darling of society who spends much of her time gambling, and when she gets a little bit too in debt goes to an old flame (Irving Pichel) for financial help. He is willing to agree...for a price, and that makes her his....any time he wants her. Of course, she's in a supposedly respectable marriage to the very boring Harvey Stephens, so she refuses, and Pichel responds in the most vile way possible. As is typical in pre-code melodramas of this sort, there's always a lethal weapon, and you don't do to Tallulah what he did to her without some sort of repercussion.

Pichel is one of the most vile villains on screen, having spent much of his career playing creepy characters in movies, a la Peter Lorre. If it wasn't the possessive servant to "Dracula's Daughter", it was Fagin in a low-budget early "Oliver Twist". Here, he plays one of the most nefarious kind of characters-the type that seems civilized on the outside but is truly barbaric inside his soul. There's no remorse for what becomes of this rogue, so he does his job extremely well. Tallulah gets a great dramatic scene in court, proving that even with maudlin and sometimes offensive material, she could make it seem better than it actually was. As with another early pre-code film she starred in ("My Sin"), she was directed by George Abbott, who like Tallulah was more at home on stage where he was a legend.

The fortunate thing about a lot of these pre-code movies which when seen in historical retrospective is that while they are all very similar, many of them are relatively short, usually under 80 minutes, and wrapped up very neatly in a glamorous bundle of furs and high fashion. Tallulah may have not been successful in film (with the exception of Hitchcock's "Lifeboat"), but the legend that is Ms. Bankhead makes these films fun to capture, especially because of their rarity. Fortunately, "The Cheat" has made its way onto DVD, and hopefully her other Paramount films will follow suit.

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