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Based on a two person play, Deception dove into the drama between a woman’s past life with an off-screen lover and her present life with her husband. The first version ended with a sort of resolution between the parties where the married couple agrees to move forward and not dwell on the past. In other words, no one died.
However, according to Paul Henreid, the Production Code Administration, which deemed what was morally acceptable for films, didn’t like the ending. They thought that Davis’ and Rains’ affair required a consequence.
The end then shifted to having Paul Henreid killing Rains out of jealousy. Co-screenwriter John Collier said, “It was supposed to happen off-stage. Henreid shoots Rains and goes to prison, while Bette promises to wait for him.”
Davis though thought the ending would be more powerful if she was the one delivering the fatal shots. Director Irving Rapper approved the change, especially since the production was already over schedule.