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Suspicion (1941)

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.


Alfred Hitchcock


Samson Raphaelson (screen play), Joan Harrison (screen play) | 2 more credits »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Cary Grant ... Johnnie Aysgarth
Joan Fontaine ... Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth
Cedric Hardwicke ... General McLaidlaw (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Nigel Bruce ... Gordon Cochran Thwaite aka Beaky
May Whitty ... Mrs. McLaidlaw (as Dame May Whitty)
Isabel Jeans ... Mrs. Newsham
Heather Angel ... Ethel - the Maid
Auriol Lee ... Isobel Sedbusk
Reginald Sheffield Reginald Sheffield ... Reggie Wetherby
Leo G. Carroll ... Captain Melbeck


Johnnie Aysgarth is a handsome gambler who seems to live by borrowing money from friends. He meets shy Lina McLaidlaw on a train while trying to travel in a first class car with a third class ticket. He begins to court Lina, and before long, they are married. It is only after the honeymoon that she discovers his true character, and she starts to become suspicious when Johnnie's friend and business partner, Beaky, is mysteriously killed. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love in his Heart . . . Tragedy in his Mind ! The stars of "Penny Serenade" and "Rebecca" in this most thrilling mystery . . . See more »


Mystery | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

14 November 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Before the Fact See more »

Filming Locations:

Big Sur, California, USA


Box Office


$1,103,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film critic Bosley Crowther of The New York Times considered that Grant was "provokingly irresponsible, boyishly gay, and also oddly mysterious, as the role properly demands." See more »


Alfred Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance about forty-six minutes in, posting a letter in the village. However, when the shot changes, he has suddenly disappeared from beside the pillar-box. See more »


[first lines]
Johnnie Aysgarth: Oh, I beg your pardon. Was that your leg? I had no idea we were going into a tunnel. I thought the compartment was empty.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A colorized version of the film was produced. It has been available on VHS (Turner Home Entertainment) in NTSC format for a while. A dual black & white/colorized Region-2 DVD version has been released in 2003 by Universal in PAL format. See more »


Featured in Touch of Pink (2004) See more »


Frühlingsstimmen, op. 410 (Voices of Spring)
(1882) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Too Many Miscellaneous Hitchcockian Nuances In Serious Need of a MacGuffin
26 November 2010 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

What kept me intrigued throughout this thoroughly disappointing venture from the Master is apparently precisely what kept it from being genuinely realized at the time it was made. That is that the profoundly charismatic Cary Grant is required to play two wholly contradictory characters simultaneously. Most of the time, this is executed by having him be his light-hearted, jaunty self on screen and learning suspicious things about him when he's offscreen, until a handful of crucial but ultimately anti-climactic moments at and toward the end. Speaking gingerly of which, a crucial aspect of Hitchcock's genius was that he could make movies where something so not only everyday but so kindly as a glass of milk could become a threatening and ominous peril. In Suspicion, it only makes me wish I were watching another Hitchcock film.

Suspicion is about a bashful and unrealistically fragile young woman, played with unseemly melodrama by the otherwise incredibly graceful Joan Fontaine, who marries an enchanting gentleman, only to increasingly suspect him of attempting to kill her. Whatever the truth of the matter should turn out to be, it should be earned through a genuine character arc, not an utterly transparent contrivance rooted in either the audience's unimaginative inability to accept, or the studio's ignorant presumption of the audience's unimaginative inability to accept a likable star playing even a potentially menacing character. Either cast this story in a way in which it can be done, or don't do it. If you have to cheat those of us who are mature enough to undertake it for its authenticity in order to appease those who staunchly prefer you take the easy way out, and you are the Master, I would expect you would be prepared to take your artistic integrity seriously enough to evaluate whether or not you're passionate enough about this material to get it made and, if so, fight for it.

Hitchcock was the leading exponent of Hollywood and, though not to the brash extent of Preminger or Lang, had the ability to smuggle themes and subjects past the censors, constantly trying the perimeters of the Hays production code, as well as portray themes and subjects in ways so uncanny that the only way they register is purely in the minds of the audience. Watch Revenge, the Hitch-helmed first episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, or reflect on the true nature of the relationship between John Dall and Farley Granger in Rope, to see the zenith of this talent. Even here, in Suspicion, he has the unmarried female mystery writer come for dinner with the Haysgarths one evening with a female companion who wears a manly hairdo, clad in a suit and tie. No reference is ever made of who this character even is or why she's even present; she has no function in the story, hence it's plainly cued that she may be the mystery writer's lover.

This is why I can't understand why Hitch could end up with such a compromised, jagged piece like this. I won't criticize it for being light-hearted in tone, because that is what pulls us along, up to a point. By us I mean we the contemporary audience who is so familiar with Hitchcock's sleight of hand, whether or not we were around when he was still presently releasing films, that his ruse is not just a ruse but a way of cluing us into the fact that there is a ruse afoot, that the wool will be pulled from over our eyes in a matter of time, gradually or suddenly. Potentially, there was a great effect that could've been had in Suspicion by luring us with the pretense of a blithe romantic plot before the rug is pulled from under us to find sinister goings-on, almost akin to Oliver Stone's use of genre-linked tone in setting up Born on the Fourth of July. Alas, no such luck. What results is a set-up with no pay-off because various people for various reasons felt we couldn't handle the pay-off.

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