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Suspicion (1941 Film)

Suspicion (1941 Film)

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Published by: galegator on Jul 04, 2013
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Suspicion (1941 film)1
Suspicion (1941 film)
Original movie poster
Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock 
Produced byUncredited:
Alfred Hitchcock Harry E. Edington
Written byNovel:
Anthony Berkeley(as Francis Iles)
Samson RaphaelsonJoan HarrisonAlma Reville
Joan FontaineCary GrantSir Cedric HardwickeNigel BruceDame May Whitty
Music by
Franz Waxman
Harry Stradling Sr.
Editing by
William Hamilton
Distributed by
RKO Radio Pictures Inc.
Release date(s)
November 14, 1941
Running time
99 minutes
United States
Box office
US$ 4,500,000
(1941) is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and JoanFontaine as a married couple. It also stars Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Isabel Jeans,Heather Angel, and Leo G. Carroll.Joan Fontaine won the Academy Award for Best Actress.It is based on Francis Iles's 1932 novel
 Before the Fact 
Handsome, irresponsible cad Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) sweeps dowdy Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) off herfeet and charms her into running away and marrying him, despite the strong disapproval of her wealthy father,General McLaidlaw (Sir Cedric Hardwicke). After their honeymoon, they set up housekeeping in extravagantfashion, though she soon learns that Johnnie is broke and was hoping to live off her father's generosity. Shepersuades him to get a job and he goes to work for his cousin, estate agent Captain Melbeck (Leo G. Carroll).
Suspicion (1941 film)2Gradually, Lina learns that Johnnie has continued to gamble on the horses, despite his promise to quit, and that hehas sold family heirloom chairs given to them as a wedding present to help pay for things. She repeatedly catcheshim in lies and discovers that he has been caught embezzling and fired from his job, though Melbeck assures her hewill not prosecute if the money is repaid. Johnnie's good-natured, if scatterbrained, friend Beaky (Nigel Bruce) triesto reassure her that her husband is a good sort, but without much success.When the general dies, Johnnie is severely disappointed to find that he has left Lina only his portrait
which islater seen in some infrequently-used living room. He convinces Beaky to finance his next venture, a landdevelopment, even though neither of them knows much about the business. Lina tries to talk Beaky out of it, but hetrusts his friend completely. Johnnie overhears and warns his wife to stay out of his affairs, but later calls the wholething off. When Beaky leaves for Paris, Johnnie accompanies him partway. Later, news reaches Lina of Beaky'sdeath in Paris. Johnnie misleads her and an investigating police inspector about remaining in London. This and otherdetails lead Lina to suspect he caused his friend's demise.She begins to fear that her husband is plotting to kill her for her life insurance. He has been questioning her friendIsobel Sedbusk (Auriol Lee), a writer of mystery novels, about untraceable poisons. Johnnie brings Lina a glass of milk before bed, but she is too afraid to drink it.Needing to get away for a while, she makes up a story to stay with her mother for a few days. Johnnie insists ondriving her there. He speeds recklessly in a powerful convertible (a 1936 Lagonda LG45
) on a dangerous roadbeside a cliff. Suddenly, Lina's door opens. Johnnie reaches for her, his intent unclear to the terrified woman. Whenshe shrinks from him, he stops the car.In the subsequent row, it emerges that Johnnie was actually intending to kill himself. Now however, he has decidedthat suicide is the coward's way out and is resolved to face his responsibilities and even go to jail for theembezzlement. He was actually in Liverpool at the time of Beaky's death, seeking to borrow on Lina
s life insurancepolicy to settle matters with Melbeck. Her suspicions allayed, Lina tells him that they will face the future together.
Joan Fontaine and Gary Cooper holdingtheir Oscars at Academy Awards, 1942.Fontaine won Best Actress for her role in
Suspicion (1941 film)3
Joan FontaineLina McLaidlaw AysgarthCary GrantJohnnie AysgarthSir Cedric HardwickeGeneral McLaidlawNigel BruceGordon Cochrane 'Beaky' ThwaiteDame May WhittyMrs. Martha McLaidlawIsabel JeansMrs. NewshamHeather AngelEthel (Maid)Auriol LeeIsobel SedbusReginald SheffieldReggie WetherbyLeo G. CarrollCaptain George MelbecAlec CraigHogarth Club Desk ClerDavid ClydeTrunk man
Alfred Hitchcock's cameo is a signature occurrence in most of his films. In
he can be seen (45 minutes intothe film) mailing a letter at the village postbox; also earlier in the film at the equestrian gathering, pulling a horse infront the camera right before Cary Grant is reintroduced, though this has not been confirmed.Fontaine won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. This was the only AcademyAward-winning performance under Hitchcock's direction.
The West/Ingster screenplay
In November 1939, Nathanael West was hired as a screenwriter by RKO Radio Pictures, where he collaborated withBoris Ingster on a film adaptation of the novel. The two men wrote the screenplay in seven weeks, with Westfocusing on characterization and dialogue as Ingster worked on the narrative structure.When RKO assigned
 Before the Fact 
to Hitchcock, he already had his own, substantially different, screenplay,credited to Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison, and Alma Reville. (Harrison was Hitchcock's personal assistant, andReville was Hitchcock's wife.) West and Ingster's screenplay was abandoned and never produced. The text of thisscreenplay can be found in the Library of America's edition of West's collected works.

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