Suspicion is a 1941 romantic thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant. While not one of his best films, this is still such a great and very well crafted picture.
A woman marries a charming playboy, but quickly learns that he has no money and is a liar and a gambler. She eventually starts suspecting that he is a murdered and that he wants to kill her. Storywise, the film works wonderfully as all the acts are superb. And yes, I loved that ending. I don’t understand why everyone hates it, including the director himself, but I surely did not mind it at all and I even loved it as it was tonally consistent to the rest of the picture that came before it and it is also, without spoiling anything, really satisfying on an emotional level and I found it to be realistic. It is also such a great twist that, although not as shocking, is still well executed.
But it also starts well and is instantly intriguing and the middle parts are naturally the finest. I loved this film for various reasons. The major reason why I loved it so much is also the most unexpected one and that is its humor. Yes, this just might be the funniest Hitchcock film there is and that was so surprising to me. It really does feel like a screwball comedy in most of its first half. And that is great and the tone was mostly well handled and isn’t jarring when it shifts to suspense. But the suspense also works and there are a couple of really intense moments to be had here, moments executed in a typical Hitchockian style which is visually impeccable and instantly memorable.
The characters are excellent. Lina is a good protagonist, but too good-hearted in my opinion. But Johnnie is great and such a realistically depicted person. The relationship between the two is also very well established. I also liked Isobel’s role in the story and Beaky was so incredibly endearing and such a likable person. The relationship between the two friends is fantastic and produces many great laughs.
The acting is fabulous. Cary Grant, some say, is hard to buy in these types of roles, but I strongly disagree as I find his talent to be immense and he can play both light and dark roles. He gave a great performance with an expected dose of charisma and humor. Nigel Bruce is also very good as is everyone else here, but this is of course a great vehicle for Joan Fontaine who is amazing in this role. She was believable in both dramatic, intense scenes and the more emotional ones and I have to say that she deserved her Oscar. Yes, that was the year in which Bette Davis gave a powerhouse performance in ‘The Little Foxes, but this is also a spectacular performance and she is excellent from beginning to end and impressed me quite a bit.
There are a couple of minor flaws here. The movie is never as memorable or as intense as some of the other works from the director. It is also far from his best work and ‘Notorious’ remains his best effort from the forties. Some of the parts are also a bit too theatrical and the movie may seem uneventful to some, but it was to me incredibly entertaining and involving and those flaws are all small and do not impact the movie much.
Suspicion looks wonderful. The cinematography is just gorgeous with a couple of really unforgettable scenes executed with such great care and attention to detail which is a trademark aspect of the director’s works. The imagery during the car driving scenes and those moments in the bedroom is so atmospheric and those are my favorite scenes here. The score is good and the tone is well handled. I liked how they presented marriage and the clash between these two persons is really well realized. The characters are also realistic and the whole movie is like that. The dialogue is excellent, the emotion is evident and some scenes are really dramatic and warm.
But the humor in Suspicion is absolutely terrific. I adored it! The exchange of dialogue is quick and brisk, but always clever and funny. The characters and their conversations can be so funny that the film reminded me of screwball comedies at times and I would even classify the first half in that genre without a doubt. Cary Grant in particular is fantastic in his role and so comedic. He made me laugh the most and I couldn’t believe that I was laughing watching an Alfred Hitchock film. But that did happen and it is not only funny, but always charming and sophisticated. Suspicion may not be near the top of the director’s list of works, but it surely is one of his better films. It did not disappoint me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Suspicion isn’t one of Hitchcock’s best films, but it surely is one of his better ones as the dialogue is superb, the acting is great with Joan Fontaine delivering a fantastic performance and the movie is filled with the director’s trademark great atmosphere and memorable imagery. But it is, most importantly, incredibly funny and charming which surprised me and it is always well crafted, well directed, really well acted and immensely engaging.
My Rating – 4.5
Interior & Exterior Stills from Suspicion
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