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Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  15 March 1991 (USA)
6.5
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David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on... See full summary »

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Title: Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Bunny Baxter
...
Dorothy Nolan
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Felix Graff
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Paulie Merrill
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Larry Nolan
Ben Piazza ...
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Joe Lesser
Barry Primus ...
Bert Alan
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Chairman Wood
Robin Gammell ...
Congressman Tavenner
Brad Sullivan ...
Congressman Velde
...
Ray Karlin
...
Felicia Barron (as Roxann Biggs)
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Storyline

David Merrill (Robert De Niro), a fictitious 1950s Hollywood director, returns from filming abroad in France to find that his loyalty has been called into question by the House Committee on Un-American Activities and he is unable to work until cleared. Before being called, his highest priority had been his work to the extent of leaving his wife (Annette Bening) and son (Luke Edwards) alone for months at a time. He initially refuses to implicate others or himself in a private meeting with Roy Cohn and a studio lawyer. This decision initially to stick to his principles first leaves him unable to work in his profession, even with films and producers he never would have worked with before. Harassment by the FBI leaves him unable to work on Broadway, with advertising agencies, or even in a small film repair shop. Finally, having fallen so far, and tempted with a new offer to direct a film from his old studio (if he testifies), he agrees to go before the Committee, initially planning to ... Written by Mike Harris <mharris@injersey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All it took was a whisper.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Schuldig bei Verdacht  »

Box Office

Gross:

$9,480,198 (USA)
 »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Irwin Winkler's rewrite of Abraham Polonsky's script, the David Merrill character was changed from a Communist Party member to a relatively apolitical liberal. Winkler based his conception of Merrill on blacklisted director John Berry, who played a nightclub owner in the Winkler-produced 'Round Midnight (1986). Ironically, Berry had been, like the original character written by Polonsky, a communist at the time of the Hollywood Red Scare. See more »

Goofs

When the di Niro character visits Zanuck watching dailies early on in the movie, we see that the dailies on screen are Marilyn singing a number from "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds" and Zanuck tells "Howard" (Hawks) the director (on the phone) that he can't see any difference in the various takes. GPB 1953 and the last scenes of GBS are Feb 1952. See more »

Quotes

Larry Nolan: Don't make me crawl through the mud... they're my friends.
See more »

Connections

Features Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME
Written by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Billie Holiday
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Products
A division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

DeNiro shines
26 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I consider this period of the early 90's to be Robert DeNiro's second wind, if you will, after many great films he starred in the 70's. This film, along with the excellent Goodfellas, Awakenings, Night and the City, A Bronx Tale, and Cape Fear highlighted a great actor's resume. He hasn't done many great films in a while, but his acting chops speak for themselves. He stars here as David Merrill, a blacklisted director in Hollyweird, who's basically accused of being a communist and certain government factions want him to name names. His performance, although subdued, is very solid as he struggles with the decision to either report his friends, who are thought to be Communist in order to rescue his once promising career, or refuse to give up any names so their lives and careers won't be destroyed also. There's a moving scene between Merrill and congress as they bombard him with questions and accusations. This is probably the most memorable scene, but I thought it tries to wrap the film up in a neat little ball, as opposed to letting us know exactly what went on in those supposedly communist meetings Merrill was a part of, and what was discussed there and who attended these meetings.

George Wendt does a commendable job as Bunny Baxter, even though it's difficult to see him other than Norm from Cheers, but I digress. Annette Benning and Patricia Wettig also give solid performances in this forgotten little film based on a true story.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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