Old friends Ward and Phillip both become smitten with Phillip’s mother’s attractive young secretary Stella. But Stella marries Phillip and stands by him as his behavior becomes more and more erratic and his jealousy of Ward increases.
Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson
A Rage in Heaven was based on a novel by James Hilton, who thanks to Lost Horizon and Goodbye Mr. Chips was a “hot property” in 1941. Going through many of the same paces he’d trod in Night Must Fall, Robert Montgomery stars as British steel mill owner Philip Monrell, whose outward charm and insouciance disguises the fact that he suffers from hereditary insanity. Throughout his life, Monrell has successfully sidestepped responsibility by hiding behind the accomplishments of his best friend, Ward Andrews (George Sanders). When he marries Stella Bergen (Ingrid Bergman), his mother’s pretty travelling companion, the neurotic Monrell becomes obsessed with the belief that Andrews is trying to steal Stella away from him-and thanks to his paranoia, Andrews and Stella do indeed fall in love. Unsuccessful in his efforts to murder Andrews, Monrell decides to exact a bizarre revenge by committing suicide and planting enough clues so that Andrews will be charged with his murder! Though absent from the final half-hour of A Rage in Heaven, Robert Montgomery continues to dominate the proceedings; indeed, for a while it looks as though he will “win” in the end after all. Making her third Hollywood film appearance, Ingrid Bergman felt that the role of Stella Bergen was inadequately suited to her and did her best to drop out of the picture; reportedly, she was mollified when MGM promised to let her play against type as the “bad” girl in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.