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In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's wife who threatens him with exposure and scandal, driving him to kill her. Thereafter, fortune seems to smile on Philip Marshall; but does fate have a surprise in store? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I finally got to see The Suspect one of the few Charles Laughton films I had not yet seen. I was totally bowled over by what he did in this film. It's really what film acting is all about, every breath, every nuance, every gesture is carefully delineated and brought to the screen. Laughton had a reputation for driving some of his directors a little nuts with his perfectionism and maybe he did to Robert Siodmark here. I prefer to think the two of them collaborated on a masterpiece.
The setting is Edwardian London in 1902. From outward appearances Laughton is a happy man, making a good living with a wife and a grown son. But he is married to one shrew of a woman he's put up with for over 20 years. He's ripe for a midlife crisis and ripe to stray. But a friendship he develops with pretty young Ella Raines recently hired at Laughton's office drives wife Rosalind Ivan up a wall. Later on Ivan dies as a result of a fall down the house stairs. Nobody can prove one way or the other whether it was murder. Scotland Yard's Stanley Ridges is up a wall with it.
Laughton and Ivan have a couple of neighbors, married couple Henry Daniell and Molly Lamont. When Ridges confides in Daniell during the course of the investigation, he inadvertently sets the stage for tragedy. Daniell himself says he's a 'total rotter' and proves it the audience's satisfaction.
The Suspect is one of many films based on the famous Dr. Crippen murder which was also in the same period. The only fault with the film is that the rest of the cast is fairly one dimensional in their characters next to Charles Laughton. But if you are a Laughton fan, this film is an absolute must.
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