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Guilty by Suspicion (1991)

PG-13 | | Drama | 15 March 1991 (USA)
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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bunny Baxter
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Dorothy Nolan
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Felix Graff
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Paulie Merrill
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Larry Nolan
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Joe Lesser
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Bert Alan
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Chairman Wood
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Congressman Tavenner
Brad Sullivan ...
Congressman Velde
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Ray Karlin
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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

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All it took was a whisper.

Genres:

Drama

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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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

David Merrill: You asked me how I'm doing. You wanna know how I'm doing? I can't get a job... can't get a job. All my friends - gone. I'm being followed by the FBI everywhere I go. I lost my house. I can't even buy my son a bike for Christmas.
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Connections

Features The Boy with Green Hair (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND
Written by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Performed by Marilyn Monroe
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User Reviews

 
Excellent re-telling of a dark period in America
2 August 2002 | by See all my reviews

Robert DeNiro plays David Merrill, a movie director who is 'Zanuck's wonder boy' at Fox as the movie opens. He's been in Europe for awhile so does not know the full impact the HUAC has been exerting on actors in Hollywood. Zanuck asks David to 'purge himself' so instructs him to meet with a man who has a lot of questions for him, all having to do with people he might or might not know (real actors names are mentioned in this scene) and DeNiro complies, but only to a point, because his best friend Bunny Baxter (George Wendt) is the last name on the 'list.' David can't deal with any of it anymore and storms out of the meeting.

Eventually he finds out the hard way that because he is being uncooperative, he is being portrayed as a Communist sympathizer and cannot get anymore work as a director in movies so he moves to New York to try to get work in the theatre.

Movie has a strange feel to it. There is something underlying in almost every scene, a strange current that flows through the movie because so much of this is about what is unsaid, what is damaging and what is the right thing to do. Husbands betray wives, best friends name best friends, and no one knows how to destroy this thing that has invaded them.

DeNiro, Annette Bening, George Wendt and Chris Cooper are riveting. Sam Wanamaker, Martin Scorsese, Tom Sizemore and Ben Piazza are very good in small roles. Patricia Wettig goes slightly over the top as an actress whose child was taken from her.

Not fun, but worth seeing, and for fans of old cars, DeNiro drives around in the most beautiful white convertible you've ever seen. Wish I knew what type of car it is! 8/10.


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