Suspicion (Hitchcock, 1941)

Cary Grant plays a charming dirt-bag money grubber and possible murderer and Joan Fontaine (she won Best Actress for this?!) plays his suspecting and rattled wife in this Hitchcock thriller. After a few close friends and family members get knocked off under mysterious circumstances, Fontaine’s Lina begins to suspect Grant’s Johnnie of meticulously clearing his way toward a fortune. Is Johnnie playing mind tricks on Lina to make her think she’s crazy, or is she making this all up out of fear and doubt? Good setup, but it’s forever before the film takes shape, leaving the viewer with countless scenes of Fontaine falling hopelessly into Grant’s arms after he’s lied to her for the hundredth time. Hitchcock is his usual brilliant self when it comes to master shot interiors, but the story is far too flimsy and the acting far to repetitive for any sort of lasting impression. Suspicion has little danger within it’s narrative corridors, more obsessed with the hidden psychological nuances than the actual breakdown of it’s protagonist. Even worse, Fontaine and Grant have little chemistry, so the words coming out of their mouths never ring true. It’s hard to believe Hitchcock made this film directly after his excellent American debut, Rebecca, also starring Joan Fontaine in a much more haunting and memorable performance. Suspicion, with it’s slow, fledgling plot and minor payoff, stands at the lower rung of Hitchcock films. But then again, it is Hitchcock, and he’s always a cut above the rest.

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