Suspicion (1941) Poster


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  • After a chance meeting on a train while traveling to the countryside of England, shy spinster Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) marries handsome playboy Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant). It's not until after the honeymoon that Lina finds out Johnnie is a ne'er-do-well gambler who borrows money from his friends to support his high life. When Johnnie's friend and business partner Beaky (Nigel Bruce) dies mysteriously while the two of them are in Paris, Lina begins to believe that Johnnie killed Beaky and that she will be next.

  • Suspicion is based on Before the Fact, a 1932 novel written by English crime writer Anthony Berkeley Cox (18931971), writing under the name Francis Iles. The novel was adapted for the movie by screenwriters Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison, and Alma Reville.

  • "Monkey face" is an affectionate name that Johnnie calls Lina. He gave it to her during their second meeting when he was attempting to rearrange her hair. "You look more like a monkey," he commented. "What does your family call you...'monkey face'?" The name stuck.

  • It's the Wiener Blut (Vienna Blood) waltz, Op. 354 by Johann Strauss II.

  • He calls it her uciptal mapillary.

  • Anagrams. Like Scrabble, the goal of Anagrams is to make words and earn points. Unlike Scrabble, the words are not placed on a board. There are many different ways to play Anagrams.

  • They're called "Tangmere-by-the-sea" in the movie, but the actual location is near Carmel, south of San Francisco by the Bixby Bridge.

  • Johnnie denies it, claiming that he was in Liverpool at the time Beaky was killed in Paris. However, the detective's account of Beaky's demise in Paris included some testimony from a French hotel worker with limited English who believed Beaky called his companion (who supplied the lethal glass of brandy) either "Aubeam" or "Allbeam". Remember that Beaky constantly called Johnnie "Old Bean".

  • Lina suspects that Johnnie is planning to kill her. She doesn't drink the glass of milk he brings her, and she requests that he sleep in another room. In the morning, she packs her bags and announces that she's going to spend a few days with her mother. Johnnie offers to drive her there. As they are driving along the cliff road, Johnnie starts going faster and faster. He veers off onto a shortcut, and the door on Lina's side of the car opens up, nearly spilling her over the cliff. Johnnie reaches over to grab Lina, who is struggling to remain in the car. When the car stops, she gets out and starts running away. Johnnie catches her and explains everything...that he was in Liverpool when Beaky was killed in Paris, that he was trying to borrow on Lina's life insurance in order to pay back the money he took from his cousin, and that he was interested in the undetectable poison because he was intending to kill himself. Hearing Johnnie's explanation, Lina tries to convince him to return home with her so that they can work out his problems together. They get back in the car. Johnnie turns the car around and heads back home. In the final scene, he puts his arm around Lina's shoulder.

  • Since the ending may be considered ambiguous, viewers have suggested two possible interpretations as to whether or not Johnnie is guilty. Some viewers take the ending at face value...that Johnnie was innocent all along and that it was all in Lina's imagination. Other conclude that Johnnie is, indeed, guilty but that he's such a slippery liar he got Lina to apologize to him and stay trapped in his web! They suspect that Johnnie will eventually kill her, too.

  • The ending of the book has Johnnie being guilty of everything Lina suspects (and much more - like Lina's father's death). At the very end of the novel, Lina, who really seems to have gone mad, catches the flu. She has been waiting for her husband to try to murder her for months now. When he brings her a glass of milk, she swallows it deliberately, knowing that it is poisoned.

  • In Hitchcock's own words: Well, I'm not too pleased with the way _Suspicion_ ends. I had something else in mind. The scene I wanted, but it was never shot, was for Cary Grant to bring her a glass of milk that's been poisoned and Joan Fontaine has just finished a letter to her mother: "Dear Mother, I'm desperately in love with him, but I don't want to live because he's a killer. Though I'd rather die, I think society should be protected from him." Then, Cary Grant comes in with the fatal glass and she says, "Will you mail this letter to Mother for me, dear?" She drinks the milk and dies. Fade out and fade in on one short shot: Cary Grant, whistling cheerfully, walks over to the mailbox and pops the letter in. — From Hitchcock (1967) by François Truffaut, page 102.

    Hitchcock's ending, as he said, was never filmed. Several reasons for changing Hitchcock's preferred ending to the one in the movie have included (1) the audience reacted badly to Hitchcock's preferred ending (unlikely if the ending had never even been shot), (2) the studio (RKO) wouldn't allow Cary Grant to play a murderer, and (3) the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (aka the Hays Code) mandated that a murderer could not get away with it in the end.

  • Hitchcock has two cameos in Suspicion. Early in the movie, he is seen walking a horse at a hunt meet. About 45 minutes into the movie, he appears again as a man posting a letter in the village.


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