Suspicion Review

Hitchcock's Suspicion is vintage a Hitch mystery, a whodunnit that's more did-he-do-it than anything else.

Cary Grant is his dashing usual self in this outing, a handsome devil who's just a bit too smarmy for his own good. He's got a history of womanizing, gambling, and dodgy business deals, but he nonetheless catches the eye of the mildly mousy but very wealthy Joan Fontaine, who immediately swoons for him. Almost immediately, they marry, and Fontaine promptly starts to suspect ulterior motives -- namely that Cary's going to kill her and/or good friend "Beaky" (the inimitable Nigel Bruce) for insurance money or other financial gain.

Suspicion is a straightforward thriller, but it's remarkably well made (earning Fontaine a Best Actress Oscar) and worth your while. Two aspects make it especially noteworthy: First is the shot with Grant carrying a glass of milk up the stairs for his wife. The milk glows in the dark -- is it poisoned? Hitchcock dropped a light bulb into the milk to achieve the effect.

The other point is the ending. The original script is 180 degrees different from the original. This is a spoiler (sorry!), but Grant's character was meant to be a murderer all along. The studio didn't go for it -- because Cary Grant can't kill people, dammit! -- and Hitch ended up with something of a copout. There are hints all along that Hitch wanted something different (my favorite is a clever line from a murder novelist (played by Auriol Lee) who notes to Fontaine that she "always thinks of her murderers as her heroes") -- and watching for these little touches makes for good fun.

The film isn't close to Hitch's best, but it's a critical part of his canon that shouldn't be missed.

On DVD, the film as backed up by a 20-minute retrospective that offers much more backstory on the movie from modern commentators.

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th November 1941

Budget: $1.8M


Production compaines: RKO Radio Pictures

Reviews 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 27

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Johnnie, as Lina, as General McLaidlaw, as Beaky, as Mrs. McLaidlaw, as Mrs. Newsham, as Ethel, as Isobel Sedbusk, Reginald Sheffield as Reggie Wetherby, Leo G. Carroll as Captain Melbeck, Billy Bevan as Ticket Taker, Leonard Carey as Burton, as Dr. Bertram Sedbusk, as Miss Wetherby