Suspicion


1h 39m 1941
Suspicion

Brief Synopsis

A wealthy wallflower suspects her penniless playboy husband of murder.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
Before the Fact
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Thriller
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Nov 14, 1941
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Jan 1942
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Before the Fact by Francis Iles (London, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,950ft

Synopsis

Johnnie Aysgarth, a charming scoundrel, prevails upon his female admirers to introduce him to Lina McLaidlaw, the prim, spinsterish daughter of wealthy General McLaidlaw. Under the pretense of escorting Lina to church, Johnnie takes her for a walk along the hillside, where he affectionately names her "monkeyface" and questions her severe appearance. When Lina returns home and overhears her parents discussing their matronly daughter, Lina impulsively kisses Johnnie and agrees to meet him later that afternoon. Although General McLaidlaw warns his daughter that Johnnie is not to be trusted, and despite the fact that he breaks their date, Lina anxiously awaits word from him. One week passes, and on the night of the Hunt Club Ball, Lina receives a telegram from Johnnie, asking her to meet him at the ball. Johnnie crashes the party and invites Lina for a ride. In the car, Lina, who has transformed herself into a beauty for the ball, blurts out her love for Johnnie, and when he admits that he is falling in love with her, she invites him to her house for a drink. There, Johnnie proposes to Lina in front of her father's portrait, and when he taps the painting, it falls from the wall. The next morning, Johnnie and Lina elope. Upon returning from their honeymoon, the newlyweds take up residence in an extravagantly furnished house that Johnnie has rented. When Lina learns that her husband is penniless and had planned to live on her income, she protests that her small allowance is not enough to support them and insists that he find a job. To placate his bride, Johnnie accepts an offer to work for his cousin, Captain George Melbeck. Their married life is blissful until one day, Gordon Cochran "Beaky" Thwaite, a friend of Johnnie's, comes to visit and tells Lina that he saw her husband at the racetrack that day. When Lina notices that the museum quality chairs, a wedding gift from her father, are missing, Beaky suggests that Johnnie sold them to cover his gambling debts. Johnnie makes up a story about the disappearance of the chairs, but when Lina sees them for sale in the window of a village antique shop, she knows that Beaky was right. Soon after Lina's discovery, Johnnie returns home, bearing expensive gifts that he claims he bought with his winnings from the track. Lina is angry when Johnnie admits to selling the chairs to bet on the horses, but forgives him when the chairs are returned to their home. Beaky, Lina and Johnnie then toast Johnnie's good luck. The toast proves almost fatal to Beaky, who suffers an allergic reaction to his brandy, and Johnnie warns him that the drink will be the death of him. While in town one day, Lina impulsively goes to visit Johnnie at his office and discovers that he has been fired for embezzling £2,000, the exact amount of his race track winnings. Returning home, Lina begins to pack her suitcases when she realizes that she loves Johnnie too much to leave him. As Lina tears up her farewell note, Johnnie enters the room with a telegram notifying her of her father's sudden death. When Lina's only bequest from her father is his portrait, Johnnie asks if she regrets marrying him. After reaffiriming her love for him, Lina tells Johnnie that she knows he has been fired. When she pretends not to know the cause, Johnnie tells her that he did not get along with Melbeck and informs her that he now plans to go into land development. Johnnie then convinces his bumbling friend Beaky to invest in his company. Lina voices her concern about Beaky, and Johnnie menacingly warns her to stay out of his business affairs. The next evening, Johnnie informs Lina that he has decided to call off the deal, but insists upon showing Beaky the land first. When she awakens the next morning, Johnnie and Beaky have already gone, and Lina, who has envisioned Johnnie pushing his friend from a cliff, speeds off to find them. Relieved when she discovers the cliffs are deserted, Lina returns home to find Beaky and Johnnie in the living room. After announcing his plans to travel to Paris and dissolve the corporation, Beaky invites Johnnie to accompany him, and Johnnie agrees to drive as far as London. Several days later, the police arrive to question Lina about Beaky's death in Paris. Learning that Beaky died by gulping a snifter of brandy in response to a challenge by his English companion, Lina becomes alarmed and calls Johnnie at his club in London. Her panic is intensified when she discovers that Johnnie checked out of his hotel the previous day. Soon after, Johnnie returns home and becomes angry when he learns that Lina informed the police about his business dealings with Beaky. The next day, Lina visits her neighbor, Isobel Sedbusk, a writer of murder mysteries, and discovers that Johnnie borrowed a mystery detailing the use of brandy as a murder weapon. Returning home, Lina finds the book hidden in Johnnie's desk drawer, along with a letter promising the repayment of the money he embezzled. When the insurance company calls to inform Johnnie that they have answered his recent inquiry by letter, Lina sneaks a look at Johnnie's mail and discovers that he has inquired about borrowing money on her life insurance policy. When the company notes that the benefits are payable only at the time of death, Lina begins to fear for her life. At dinner that night, Johnnie questions Isobel and her brother Bertram, a coroner, about an undetectable poison. Later, when Lina is unable to sleep, Johnnie brings her a glass of milk. Certain that the milk is lethal, Lina leaves it untouched and announces that she is going to stay with her mother for a few days. Insisting upon driving her to her mother's house, Johnnie recklessly speeds along the cliffside curves. When Lina's car door swings open, Johnnie reaches to grab her arm, but she pulls away from him. Johnnie then stops the car, and when Lina runs out, screaming, he denounces her for pulling away from him when he tried to save her and declares that she will never have to see him again. Johnnie's words make Lina suspect that his interest in poison was for his own suicide, and he admits that because he was unable to repay his debt, he did consider suicide, but has now decided that prison is the more honorable solution. When he explains that he left London to visit the insurance company in Liverpool to inquire about borrowing money on her policy, Lina apologizes for doubting him and begs for another chance. Johnnie then turns the car around, and they drive home, to begin their marriage again.

Photo Collections

Suspicion - Publicity Art
Here are a couple of specialty drawings created by RKO for newspaper reproduction to publicize Suspicion (1941), starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine. To cover their bases, there is a both a humorous treatment and a serious one.
Suspicion - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Before the Fact
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Thriller
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Nov 14, 1941
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Jan 1942
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Before the Fact by Francis Iles (London, 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,950ft

Award Wins

Best Actress

1941
Joan Fontaine

Award Nominations

Best Picture

1941

Best Score

1941

Articles

Suspicion


Cary Grant is the charming but irresponsible playboy Johnnie Aysgarth and Joan Fontaine the prim, intellectual, sheltered Lina McLaidlaw who falls hard for his rakish charms in Alfred Hitchcock's revered romantic thriller Suspicion (1941). Though it was his second Hollywood film (after Rebecca, 1940) Hitchcock joked that "you might say Suspicion was the second English picture I made in Hollywood: the actors, the atmosphere, and the novel on which it's based were all British." The picture's success with both critics and at the box office also helped secure Hitchcock's newly christened status as a bankable Hollywood director.

Kept close to home by her protective parents who anticipate a life of spinsterhood for their only daughter, Lina is whisked up in a whirlwind romance when she meets the notorious lothario Johnnie, who everyone warns her is after her fortune. One minute the couple is waltzing at the hunt ball (which Johnnie has crashed) and the next moment the pair have eloped, stealing away from Lina's beloved, watchful parents. But their European honeymoon and new life together ensconced in a luxurious country house are merely a clever facade for a well-lived life. Almost immediately Lina learns that her new husband is a gambler and a loafer who would rather pin his future on a fast horse than on honest labor. When an old chum, the jolly Beaky Thwaite (Nigel Bruce) comes onto the scene of growing marital distrust, tensions increase. Lina learns Johnnie is involved in an embezzling scheme and begins to suspect that her husband will stop at nothing - possibly not even murder - to secure his fortune.

Suspicion was Grant's first film with Alfred Hitchcock in what proved to be an interesting expansion of Grant's usual pattern of playing charming, mischievous leads. Rather than reverting to the consummately gentlemanly polish that served him so well in past and future roles, Grant brought a touch of darkness and untrustworthiness to his debonair, joking, but manipulative Johnnie. Fontaine, on the other hand, who had worked with Hitchcock once before on Rebecca, a film that made her a star, reverted to type in Suspicion playing yet another timid, vulnerable, distrustful wife convinced her husband is up to some unsavory business. Though some felt her Academy Award win for Suspicion was compensation for losing the award previously for Rebecca, Fontaine's believably frightened performance carried the film. Fontaine may have been unwittingly helped along by Hitchcock's unique "divide and conquer" strategy in directing actors. Grant disliked what he saw as the preferential treatment Hitchcock gave to Fontaine and reportedly commented that Fontaine's "bitchy behavior made it perfectly understandable that her husband could murder her." Grant was said to be so put out that Fontaine was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar while he was overlooked that he avoided the actress for the rest of his life. Fontaine in her autobiography No Bed of Roses was more generous, calling Grant "fascinating to work with," though she tartly noted "the only mistake he made on Suspicion was not realizing that the part of Lina was the major role."

The most notorious aspect of the film's production, however, was not the tensions between Grant and Fontaine but the much-contested ending to the film. Adapting a work by Anthony Berkeley Cox (who wrote under the pseudonym Francis Iles) called Before the Fact, Hitchcock worked from a script written by playwright Samson Raphaelson (who had worked on some of Ernst Lubitsch's early talkies), longtime collaborator Joan Harrison and Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville. Hitchcock had initially intended to end the film just as Cox's novel ended, with Johnnie poisoning Lina. But the studio considered Grant far too glamorous and popular a star to allow such a conclusion. And so, despite Hitchcock's resistance, the studio insisted that Lina's suspicions prove unfounded in the end.

That ending proved a disappointment to many caught up on the wave of gripping, sweaty suspense about Johnnie's true intentions for the terrified Lina. The New York Times and Variety both remarked unfavorably on the ending, with the latter calling the studio-imposed ending a "most inept and inconclusive windup." All the more remarkable, then, was Hitchcock's finesse in momentarily convincing audiences that matinee idol Grant could indeed wind up to be a murderer. Nevertheless, as testament to Hitchcock's abilities to work his taut brand of suspense around even studio interference, Suspicion was nominated for Best Picture, and Best Score, though How Green Was My Valley (1941) and The Devil and DanielWebster (1941) both won those categories.

Producer/Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenwriter: Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison, Alma Reville from the novel
Before the Fact by Anthony Berkeley Cox (aka Francis Iles)
Cinematography: Harry Stradling
Production Design: Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark
Music: Franz Waxman
Cast: Cary Grant (Johnnie Aysgarth), Joan Fontaine (Lina McLaidlaw), Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Gen. McLaidlaw), Nigel Bruce (Beaky Thwaite), Dame May Whitty (Mrs. McLaidlaw), Isabel Jeans (Mrs. Newsham), Heather Angel (Ethel), Leo G. Carroll (Captain George Melbeck).
BW-100m. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video.

by Felicia Feaster
Suspicion

Suspicion

Cary Grant is the charming but irresponsible playboy Johnnie Aysgarth and Joan Fontaine the prim, intellectual, sheltered Lina McLaidlaw who falls hard for his rakish charms in Alfred Hitchcock's revered romantic thriller Suspicion (1941). Though it was his second Hollywood film (after Rebecca, 1940) Hitchcock joked that "you might say Suspicion was the second English picture I made in Hollywood: the actors, the atmosphere, and the novel on which it's based were all British." The picture's success with both critics and at the box office also helped secure Hitchcock's newly christened status as a bankable Hollywood director. Kept close to home by her protective parents who anticipate a life of spinsterhood for their only daughter, Lina is whisked up in a whirlwind romance when she meets the notorious lothario Johnnie, who everyone warns her is after her fortune. One minute the couple is waltzing at the hunt ball (which Johnnie has crashed) and the next moment the pair have eloped, stealing away from Lina's beloved, watchful parents. But their European honeymoon and new life together ensconced in a luxurious country house are merely a clever facade for a well-lived life. Almost immediately Lina learns that her new husband is a gambler and a loafer who would rather pin his future on a fast horse than on honest labor. When an old chum, the jolly Beaky Thwaite (Nigel Bruce) comes onto the scene of growing marital distrust, tensions increase. Lina learns Johnnie is involved in an embezzling scheme and begins to suspect that her husband will stop at nothing - possibly not even murder - to secure his fortune. Suspicion was Grant's first film with Alfred Hitchcock in what proved to be an interesting expansion of Grant's usual pattern of playing charming, mischievous leads. Rather than reverting to the consummately gentlemanly polish that served him so well in past and future roles, Grant brought a touch of darkness and untrustworthiness to his debonair, joking, but manipulative Johnnie. Fontaine, on the other hand, who had worked with Hitchcock once before on Rebecca, a film that made her a star, reverted to type in Suspicion playing yet another timid, vulnerable, distrustful wife convinced her husband is up to some unsavory business. Though some felt her Academy Award win for Suspicion was compensation for losing the award previously for Rebecca, Fontaine's believably frightened performance carried the film. Fontaine may have been unwittingly helped along by Hitchcock's unique "divide and conquer" strategy in directing actors. Grant disliked what he saw as the preferential treatment Hitchcock gave to Fontaine and reportedly commented that Fontaine's "bitchy behavior made it perfectly understandable that her husband could murder her." Grant was said to be so put out that Fontaine was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar while he was overlooked that he avoided the actress for the rest of his life. Fontaine in her autobiography No Bed of Roses was more generous, calling Grant "fascinating to work with," though she tartly noted "the only mistake he made on Suspicion was not realizing that the part of Lina was the major role." The most notorious aspect of the film's production, however, was not the tensions between Grant and Fontaine but the much-contested ending to the film. Adapting a work by Anthony Berkeley Cox (who wrote under the pseudonym Francis Iles) called Before the Fact, Hitchcock worked from a script written by playwright Samson Raphaelson (who had worked on some of Ernst Lubitsch's early talkies), longtime collaborator Joan Harrison and Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville. Hitchcock had initially intended to end the film just as Cox's novel ended, with Johnnie poisoning Lina. But the studio considered Grant far too glamorous and popular a star to allow such a conclusion. And so, despite Hitchcock's resistance, the studio insisted that Lina's suspicions prove unfounded in the end. That ending proved a disappointment to many caught up on the wave of gripping, sweaty suspense about Johnnie's true intentions for the terrified Lina. The New York Times and Variety both remarked unfavorably on the ending, with the latter calling the studio-imposed ending a "most inept and inconclusive windup." All the more remarkable, then, was Hitchcock's finesse in momentarily convincing audiences that matinee idol Grant could indeed wind up to be a murderer. Nevertheless, as testament to Hitchcock's abilities to work his taut brand of suspense around even studio interference, Suspicion was nominated for Best Picture, and Best Score, though How Green Was My Valley (1941) and The Devil and DanielWebster (1941) both won those categories. Producer/Director: Alfred Hitchcock Screenwriter: Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison, Alma Reville from the novel Before the Fact by Anthony Berkeley Cox (aka Francis Iles) Cinematography: Harry Stradling Production Design: Van Nest Polglase, Carroll Clark Music: Franz Waxman Cast: Cary Grant (Johnnie Aysgarth), Joan Fontaine (Lina McLaidlaw), Sir Cedric Hardwicke (Gen. McLaidlaw), Nigel Bruce (Beaky Thwaite), Dame May Whitty (Mrs. McLaidlaw), Isabel Jeans (Mrs. Newsham), Heather Angel (Ethel), Leo G. Carroll (Captain George Melbeck). BW-100m. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video. by Felicia Feaster

Suspicion on DVD


Cary Grant is the charming but irresponsible playboy Johnnie Aysgarth and Joan Fontaine the prim, intellectual, sheltered Lina McLaidlaw who falls hard for his rakish charms in Alfred Hitchcock's revered romantic thriller Suspicion (1941). Though it was his second Hollywood film (after Rebecca, 1940) Hitchcock joked that "you might say Suspicion was the second English picture I made in Hollywood: the actors, the atmosphere, and the novel on which it's based were all British." The picture's success with both critics and at the box office also helped secure Hitchcock's newly christened status as a bankable Hollywood director.

Kept close to home by her protective parents who anticipate a life of spinsterhood for their only daughter, Lina is whisked up in a whirlwind romance when she meets the notorious lothario Johnnie, who everyone warns her is after her fortune. One minute the couple is waltzing at the hunt ball (which Johnnie has crashed) and the next moment the pair have eloped, stealing away from Lina's beloved, watchful parents. But their European honeymoon and new life together ensconced in a luxurious country house are merely a clever facade for a well-lived life. Almost immediately Lina learns that her new husband is a gambler and a loafer who would rather pin his future on a fast horse than on honest labor. When an old chum, the jolly Beaky Thwaite (Nigel Bruce) comes onto the scene of growing marital distrust, tensions increase. Lina learns Johnnie is involved in an embezzling scheme and begins to suspect that her husband will stop at nothing - possibly not even murder - to secure his fortune.

Suspicion was Grant's first film with Alfred Hitchcock in what proved to be an interesting expansion of Grant's usual pattern of playing charming, mischievous leads. Rather than reverting to the consummately gentlemanly polish that served him so well in past and future roles, Grant brought a touch of darkness and untrustworthiness to his debonair, joking, but manipulative Johnnie. Fontaine, on the other hand, who had worked with Hitchcock once before on Rebecca, a film that made her a star, reverted to type in Suspicion playing yet another timid, vulnerable, distrustful wife convinced her husband is up to some unsavory business. Though some felt her Academy Award win for Suspicion was compensation for losing the award previously for Rebecca, Fontaine's believably frightened performance carried the film. Fontaine may have been unwittingly helped along by Hitchcock's unique "divide and conquer" strategy in directing actors. Grant disliked what he saw as the preferential treatment Hitchcock gave to Fontaine and reportedly commented that Fontaine's "bitchy behavior made it perfectly understandable that her husband could murder her." Grant was said to be so put out that Fontaine was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar while he was overlooked that he avoided the actress for the rest of his life. Fontaine in her autobiography No Bed of Roses was more generous, calling Grant "fascinating to work with," though she tartly noted "the only mistake he made on Suspicion was not realizing that the part of Lina was the major role."

The most notorious aspect of the film's production, however, was not the tensions between Grant and Fontaine but the much-contested ending to the film. Adapting a work by Anthony Berkeley Cox (who wrote under the pseudonym Francis Iles) called Before the Fact, Hitchcock worked from a script written by playwright Samson Raphaelson (who had worked on some of Ernst Lubitsch's early talkies), longtime collaborator Joan Harrison and Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville. Hitchcock had initially intended to end the film just as Cox's novel ended, with Johnnie poisoning Lina. But the studio considered Grant far too glamorous and popular a star to allow such a conclusion. And so, despite Hitchcock's resistance, the studio insisted that Lina's suspicions prove unfounded in the end.

That ending proved a disappointment to many caught up on the wave of gripping, sweaty suspense about Johnnie's true intentions for the terrified Lina. The New York Times and Variety both remarked unfavorably on the ending, with the latter calling the studio-imposed ending a "most inept and inconclusive windup." All the more remarkable, then, was Hitchcock's finesse in momentarily convincing audiences that matinee idol Grant could indeed wind up to be a murderer. Nevertheless, as testament to Hitchcock's abilities to work his taut brand of suspense around even studio interference, Suspicion was nominated for Best Picture, and Best Score, though How Green Was My Valley (1941) and The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) both won those categories.

The Warner Video DVD of Suspicion sports a sharp black and white transfer of this well-known Hitchcock standard though Franz Waxman's score sometimes threatens to overwhelm the actor's dialogue in a few scenes. This may not be a problem with the DVD mastering but the original negative. As for extras, the disc only includes the theatical trailer and a featurette produced for this DVD release, "Before the Fact: Suspicious Hitchcock," which discusses Hitchcock's original ending which was nixed and other fascinating trivia about the film.

For more information about Suspicion, visit Warner Video. To order Suspicion, go to TCM Shopping.

by Felicia Feaster

Suspicion on DVD

Cary Grant is the charming but irresponsible playboy Johnnie Aysgarth and Joan Fontaine the prim, intellectual, sheltered Lina McLaidlaw who falls hard for his rakish charms in Alfred Hitchcock's revered romantic thriller Suspicion (1941). Though it was his second Hollywood film (after Rebecca, 1940) Hitchcock joked that "you might say Suspicion was the second English picture I made in Hollywood: the actors, the atmosphere, and the novel on which it's based were all British." The picture's success with both critics and at the box office also helped secure Hitchcock's newly christened status as a bankable Hollywood director. Kept close to home by her protective parents who anticipate a life of spinsterhood for their only daughter, Lina is whisked up in a whirlwind romance when she meets the notorious lothario Johnnie, who everyone warns her is after her fortune. One minute the couple is waltzing at the hunt ball (which Johnnie has crashed) and the next moment the pair have eloped, stealing away from Lina's beloved, watchful parents. But their European honeymoon and new life together ensconced in a luxurious country house are merely a clever facade for a well-lived life. Almost immediately Lina learns that her new husband is a gambler and a loafer who would rather pin his future on a fast horse than on honest labor. When an old chum, the jolly Beaky Thwaite (Nigel Bruce) comes onto the scene of growing marital distrust, tensions increase. Lina learns Johnnie is involved in an embezzling scheme and begins to suspect that her husband will stop at nothing - possibly not even murder - to secure his fortune. Suspicion was Grant's first film with Alfred Hitchcock in what proved to be an interesting expansion of Grant's usual pattern of playing charming, mischievous leads. Rather than reverting to the consummately gentlemanly polish that served him so well in past and future roles, Grant brought a touch of darkness and untrustworthiness to his debonair, joking, but manipulative Johnnie. Fontaine, on the other hand, who had worked with Hitchcock once before on Rebecca, a film that made her a star, reverted to type in Suspicion playing yet another timid, vulnerable, distrustful wife convinced her husband is up to some unsavory business. Though some felt her Academy Award win for Suspicion was compensation for losing the award previously for Rebecca, Fontaine's believably frightened performance carried the film. Fontaine may have been unwittingly helped along by Hitchcock's unique "divide and conquer" strategy in directing actors. Grant disliked what he saw as the preferential treatment Hitchcock gave to Fontaine and reportedly commented that Fontaine's "bitchy behavior made it perfectly understandable that her husband could murder her." Grant was said to be so put out that Fontaine was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar while he was overlooked that he avoided the actress for the rest of his life. Fontaine in her autobiography No Bed of Roses was more generous, calling Grant "fascinating to work with," though she tartly noted "the only mistake he made on Suspicion was not realizing that the part of Lina was the major role." The most notorious aspect of the film's production, however, was not the tensions between Grant and Fontaine but the much-contested ending to the film. Adapting a work by Anthony Berkeley Cox (who wrote under the pseudonym Francis Iles) called Before the Fact, Hitchcock worked from a script written by playwright Samson Raphaelson (who had worked on some of Ernst Lubitsch's early talkies), longtime collaborator Joan Harrison and Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville. Hitchcock had initially intended to end the film just as Cox's novel ended, with Johnnie poisoning Lina. But the studio considered Grant far too glamorous and popular a star to allow such a conclusion. And so, despite Hitchcock's resistance, the studio insisted that Lina's suspicions prove unfounded in the end. That ending proved a disappointment to many caught up on the wave of gripping, sweaty suspense about Johnnie's true intentions for the terrified Lina. The New York Times and Variety both remarked unfavorably on the ending, with the latter calling the studio-imposed ending a "most inept and inconclusive windup." All the more remarkable, then, was Hitchcock's finesse in momentarily convincing audiences that matinee idol Grant could indeed wind up to be a murderer. Nevertheless, as testament to Hitchcock's abilities to work his taut brand of suspense around even studio interference, Suspicion was nominated for Best Picture, and Best Score, though How Green Was My Valley (1941) and The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) both won those categories. The Warner Video DVD of Suspicion sports a sharp black and white transfer of this well-known Hitchcock standard though Franz Waxman's score sometimes threatens to overwhelm the actor's dialogue in a few scenes. This may not be a problem with the DVD mastering but the original negative. As for extras, the disc only includes the theatical trailer and a featurette produced for this DVD release, "Before the Fact: Suspicious Hitchcock," which discusses Hitchcock's original ending which was nixed and other fascinating trivia about the film. For more information about Suspicion, visit Warner Video. To order Suspicion, go to TCM Shopping. by Felicia Feaster

Quotes

Oh, I beg your pardon. Was that your leg? I had no idea we were going into a tunnel. I thought the compartment was empty.
- Johnnie Aysgarth
If you're going to kill someone, do it simply.
- Johnnie Aysgarth
I always think of my murderers as my heroes.
- Isobel Sedbusk
Good heavens! You can't expect me to remember every detail about everybody, can you?
- General McLaidlaw
Well, well. You're the first woman I've ever met who said yes when she meant yes.
- Johnnie Aysgarth

Trivia

about 45 minutes in, mailing a letter at the village post office.

In the scene where Johnnie brings a glass of milk up to Lina, Hitchcock had a light hidden in the glass to make it appear more sinister.

Hitchcock originally wanted Johnnie to be guilty, but the studio insisted that the public wouldn't accept Cary Grant as a murderer. Hitchcock's original ending had Johnny convicting himself by mailing a letter that Lina had written.

A big latticed window casts a spider's web-like shadow across the actors.

In one draft of the script, when Johnnie realizes what was in Lina's mind, he runs away until he can "find some way to pay" his debts (both financial and moral), and joins the air force under a false name. She find out where he's stationed and proudly watches as his plane, with his nickname for her painted on it, takes off.

The dog in the movie is a Sealyham Terrier. Hitchcock kept Sealyhams for many years. In his movie Birds, The (1963), Hitch walks out of the pet store with Sealyhams on a lead.

Notes

The working title of this film was Before the Fact. The opening credits include the following acknowledgment: "services of Miss Fontaine and Mr. Hitchcock secured through the courtesy of David O. Selznick Productions, Inc." According to pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter, Michele Morgan was tested for the role of "Lina" and Constance Worth replaced Phyllis Barry as "Mrs. Fitzpatrick." A Hollywood Reporter production chart places Stanley Logan in the cast, but he does not appear in the final film. Hitchcock makes his customary cameo in Suspicion as a man mailing a letter.
       The film's ending differs from the ending of the Frances Iles (a pseudonym for author James Hilton) novel on which it was based. In the novel, the character of "Johnnie" kills his wife "Lina" by poisoning her with a glass of milk. In a 1941 New York Herald Tribune interview, director Alfred Hitchcock stated that this ending was unacceptable because the studio feared that an unhappy ending would result in commercial failure and because the Production Code Administration mandated that all screen murderers must be punished. According to materials in the RKO Archives Script and Production Information Files contained at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library and the Hitchcock papers at the AMPAS Library, Hitchcock shot two different endings for this film. In the first, Johnnie leaves Lina and joins the RAF to redeem himself. When the studio previewed the film in June 1941, however, the audience objected to that ending as "too bleak and unsatisfactory." Consequently, in July 1941, Hitchcock shot the present ending in which Lina begs Johnnie to forgive her and he turns the car around. According to the Hollywood Reporter and New York Times reviews, audiences were confused by this ending, commenting that they were not certain if Johnnie was trying to push Lina out of the car or if she was trying to jump. In later interviews, Hitchcock stated that he wanted the film to end with Lina dying from drinking the poisoned milk after having written a letter to her mother in which she reaffirms her love for Johnnie while exposing him as a killer. As Lina drinks the poison and dies, Johnnie drops the letter in a mailbox.
       According to the RKO Script Files, in 1936, RKO assigned Paul Trivers to write a screen treatment of Iles's novel. In 1939, Boris Ingster and Arnaud d'Usseau wrote a first-draft continuity, and in January 1940, Ingster and Nathanael West scripted a screenplay. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Samson Raphaelson was brought in to work on the script in December 1940. Alma Reville, one of the writers who worked on the script with Raphaelson, was married to Hitchcock and frequently collaborated with him on his films.
       Although the film officially opened in Los Angeles on January 20, 1942, RKO screened the film on January 11, 1942 in order to qualify it for the 1942 Academy Awards, according to material contained in the production files at the AMPAS Library. Joan Fontaine won an Academy Award for Best Actress, and the film was nominated for Best Picture and Franz Waxman was nominated for Best Dramatic Score. Hitchcock and Fontaine had previously worked together in the 1940 film Rebecca, Hitchcock's first American film (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.3646). Suspicion was the first of many collaborations between Grant and Hitchcock. In modern interviews, Hitchcock stated that an RKO executive ordered that all scenes in which Grant appeared menacing be excised from the film. When the cutting was completed, the film ran only fifty-five minutes. The scenes were restored, Hitchcock said, because he shot each piece of film so that there was only one way to edit them together properly. Hitchcock also noted that he placed a light inside Lina's glass of milk to make it look luminescent. Joan Fontaine reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on May 4, 1942, co-starring her then-husband, Brian Aherne. It was presented again on September 18, 1944. An American Playhouse remake, starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Curtin, aired in April 1988. In August 2001, a new version of the story was announced as being in development by director Philip Kaufman. Initially to star Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow, the project was still in development as of spring 2005, with a new script to be written by John Guare.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1941

Released in United States March 1987

Released in United States on Video September 27, 1989

Re-released in United States on Video February 21, 1995

Released in United States 1941

Re-released in United States on Video February 21, 1995

Released in United States March 1987 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (UCLA Movie Marathon: A Tribute to Cary Grant) March 11-26, 1987.)

Released in United States on Video September 27, 1989 (colorized version)