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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.65%
Worth A Look41.18%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad: 35.29%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 11 user ratings

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by MP Bartley

"We can't go on together, with suspicious minds, do do do doo..."
2 stars

I will bow to probably no-one in my admiration for Hitchcock. The word genius is used far too often these days, but in the case of Hitchcock it's just not used often enough. We can all name at least ten great Hitchcock flicks off the top of our head, and chances are they won't be the exact same top ten. 'Suspicion' however, is unfortunately one not likely to be on anyones top ten as it's an example of the Master working far below his best. But Hitchcock far below his best is still something we should pay respect to.

Joan Fonatine is Lina, a determined woman who is causing concern among her family as she still hasn't settled down into married life. That all changes however when she meets playboy Johnny Aysgarth (Cary Grant), who christens her with the lovely nickname 'monkeyface' and puts his carefree life behind him to settle down in wedded bliss with her.

This wedded bliss doesn't last long however as she starts to have suspicions about Johnny. He doesn't have as much money as he claims. He goes missing quite often and has mysterious business deals behind her back. Business deals that she may be a threat to. And when the police come sniffing around, there's only one conclusion - he's trying to kill her. Yikes.

Fonatine won a best actress oscar for this role, and it's no surprise as she's great in the role. She carries the burden of suspicion and fear on her shoulders, and is a solid dramatic centre for the story. It's good that she does however, because the rest of the story around her is a let down. Part of this is due to the mis-casting of Cary Grant. Grant was an actor who could charm the birds out of the trees, and he's perfectly cast as the charming playboy - but unfortunately that's only half the role here.
The other half is as a would-be killer and Grant sadly doesn't convince here. He doesn't have the dark side that other leading men like Anthony Perkins or James Stewart do, and so we never really feel that Lina is in any threat. He could certainly charm his way out of any situation, but strangle his wife? Nah.

And equally sadly, Hitchcock has to shoulder some of the blame too. He doesn't work the gears of suspense like he usually does and the tension just never builds up to a head. Instead we have a series of coincidences and contrivances that suggest Johnny may be up to anything, but there's never anything particularly concrete or damning. This is one Hitchcock film where he fails to 'put the audience through it', as he so liked to say.

He's actually more at home in the lighter scenes of romance and seduction, than the scenes where you think he would gleefully engage in dark machinations. Instead of a riveting thriller then, 'Suspicion' comes off as an odd mixture of light comedy, thriller and woman's film of the 40's. The ending (which was shoe-horned in at the insistence of the studio) just hangs there, like an extra part that no-one needs, or an ugly blemish that should have really been covered up. It's perhaps the studio's insistence on tinkering that accounts for the lack of interest you feel Hitchcock has for the story.

'Suspicion' is worth watching more for Fontaines performance, than for anything truly Hitchcockian. Devotees of Hitch will find little here of his terrific style or treatment of suspense, and only the briefest glimpses of his true interest in the story. But when we have 'Vertigo', 'The Birds', 'Rope', 'Rear Window', 'Blackmail' and 'Psycho' amongst many others to fall back on, I think we can live the fact that he occasionally turned out the odd dud.

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originally posted: 04/13/05 02:45:54
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User Comments

11/04/09 Jack Burton Cary Grant is great, but the ending is a letdown. 3 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White suspician will make you rethink how much you really know your partner 4 stars
4/02/07 fools♫gold Second-rate compared to, well, all of the rest of Hitchcock's films. 4 stars
9/10/05 Riaz Simply the best, most perfect, and most underrated movie I have ever seen! 5 stars
9/02/05 Zack I liked it 4 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Other than one dimensional Grant this is a stellar cast in a well crafted thriller 4 stars
6/11/04 Sean Scanlan Hitchcock makes wonderful movies 5 stars
5/21/04 Sean Scanlan As wonderful as Hitchcocks other movies 5 stars
7/21/02 R.W. Welch Hitch had a better ending but studio killed it. Still pretty good. 4 stars
12/07/99 Chef ADogg Fontaine rocks, Grant bitchslaps, good fun. Better than Notorious, dammit. 4 stars
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  02-Dec-1941 (NR)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2004



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