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Suspicion (1941)

Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller | 14 November 1941 (USA)
A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

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

On Disc

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

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Cast

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
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Thrill to them together in the greatest emotional hit ever directed by that master of suspenseful drama -- Alfred Hitchcock! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Before the Fact See more »

Filming Locations:

Big Sur, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,103,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In one draft of the script, when Johnnie realizes what was in Lina's mind, he runs away until he can "find some way to pay" his debts (both financial and moral), and joins the U.S. Air Force under a false name. She finds out where he's stationed and proudly watches as his plane, with his nickname for her painted on it, takes off. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene as Johnnie and Lina drive back home, it is clear from the shot of them from behind that doubles have been used and the two characters in the scene are not Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in Telescope: A Talk with Hitchcock (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Frühlingsstimmen, op. 410 (Voices of Spring)
(1882) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Good night, Lina."
27 October 2005 | by HoldjerhorsesSee all my reviews

That could have been Cary Grant's most chilling line in his long career.

*SPOILERS*

Except RKO didn't have the courage of its convictions. Having bought the rights to Francis Iles' novel, and despite Hitchcock's insistence on sticking with the original ending, neither preview audiences nor the studio were ready to accept Cary Grant as a murderer. So its present ending was hastily written and shot. It completely subverts all the fine work that's gone before.

Joan Fontaine was a brilliant actress and valiantly, passionately, breathlessly tries to make the shockingly amateurish dialogue in the final scene work -- "Oh, Johnny! You were going to kill yourself instead of me, like the audience and I have thought for the last 90 minutes! Oh, Johnny! It's as much my fault as it is yours! Oh, Johnny! I was only thinking of myself . . . ," etc.

Cary Grant does his best with this final abomination of a climax. "Lina! Lina! How much can one man bear! When you and the audience thought I was in Paris murdering Beaky I was really in Liverpool!" Etc.

Huh?

In other words, this beautifully produced, directed, acted and written psychological suspense thriller turns out to be about a charming lazy n'er-do-well who's sponged and embezzled his way through life, who marries a beautiful but neurotic aristocrat who, from day one, increasingly assumes the worst about her husband -- convincing herself (and us) that he's killed before and now is about to kill her?

"Just kidding," the tacked-on final scene says. "It was all innocent. You eating popcorn out there in the dark, and Lina, should be ashamed for even THINKING such things! Go home now."

It helps, out of self defense, to watch "Suspicion" with the original ending in mind. Yes, the milk is poisoned. Yes Johnny killed Beaky in Paris. Yes, he's a psychopath who lies, cheats, steals and kills. Yes, Lina believed him and loved him deeply -- the only man she's ever loved. Yes, her life is no longer worth living, now that she knows the truth about Johnny. Yes, she rightly suspects that milk is poisoned. So she writes a letter to her mother, telling the truth about Johnny's exploits, and that he is poisoning her as she writes -- and that she intends to die. She seals the letter and gives it to Johnny to mail. She drinks the milk. Johnny leaves and unknowingly drops Lina's letter into a mailbox, thus sealing his fate.

THAT'S a rewarding ending.

It also makes everything that's gone before (including writing, directing, performances and cinematography) plausible. It gives "Suspicion" a reason to exist.

But that's the novel's ending.

The film's "Lina and the audience are just paranoid" ending makes fools out of all the talent on display here. And of us.

Hold mentally to the original ending and you'll love it.


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