Suspicion DVD Review

Written by Peter West

DVD released by Warner Brothers

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Writing by Anthony Berkeley (novel) Samson Raphaelson (screenplay)
1941, Region 1 (NTSC), 99 minutes, Not rated

DVD released September 7th, 2004

Starring:
Joan Fontaine as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth
Cary Grant as Johnnie Aysgarth
Cedric Hardwicke as General McLaidlaw
Nigel Bruce as Gordon Cochrane 'Beaky' Thwaite
Dame May Whitty as Mrs. Martha McLaidlaw
Isabel Jeans as Mrs. Newsham
Heather Angel as Ethel (Maid)
Auriol Lee as Isobel Sedbusk
Reginald Sheffield as Reggie Wetherby
Leo G. Carroll as Captain George Melbeck

Movie:

Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) has a chance meeting on a train with Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant), a handsome young man who is a little short on his fare. As their paths cross several times in ensuing days, Lina is swept off her feet by the charming Johnnie. After a quickie wedding and honeymoon all over the world, Lina finds out that Johnnie is penniless and expects her to pay for their extravagant lifestyle. A series of lies and half truths then have Lina start wondering what Johnnie's true motives are.

When Johnnie develops a overt interest in murder mysteries and people close to them start dying, Lina is torn between her love for Johnnie and the suspicion that he may have plans for her that are detrimental to her safety. It all comes together as Johnnie brings her the glass of milk at bedtime which she thinks may contain the poison to do her in. Will Lina come to her senses before it's too late? Twists and turn abound in this, the first of the four collaborations between Grant and Hitchcock.

Review:

It's been probably close to twenty five years since I had seen Suspicion, I had forgotten what a absolutely charming film this was. This is the first in what may have been the most successful collaboration between director and actor ever between Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant. Hitchcock stated one time, you don't direct Grant, you simply point the camera at him! As the cad Johnnie Aysgarth, Grant displays a wide range in this character. Charming and smooth, he also shows a evil side as he tears into Joan Fontaine when she interferes with his business plans. You start to believe that behind the smile there may be a heart so black and evil that he could do anything for money. Nigel Bruce has a small but very important role as Johnnie's best friend "Beaky". Nigel steals the show as he plays a character who's innocence may border on ignorance as he looks past Johnnie's many faults.

Suspicion may be the gem of the new Hitchcock collection. It displays all of the things we have know to love about Hitch's directorial style. There's so much comedy and warmth balanced by darkness and doom. Neither Hitch or Grant ever won a academy award for a film, however that was one of Hollywood's biggest oversights. Suspicion is an incredible film that showcases the talents of all involved. If you've never seen it of if like me, have not seen it for many a year, this will be one of the most enjoyable movies you've watched in a long time!

Video and Audio:

Filmed in 1941 and presented in a 1.37:1 full frame, Suspicion is wonderfully preserved in this transfer by Warner. One of the best B&W transfers I've seen.

Once again Warner shines in the Dolby Digital mono soundtrack. Original Music by Franz Waxman combines cheery music with that of impending evil. It's a marvelous combination for this ever shifting plot line.

Special Features:

  • New making-of documentary "Before the Fact"

A pretty beat up theatrical trailer is included on this DVD along with a fantastic documentary about the film. Like the others in the Hitchcock Signature Collection it's around twenty minutes long with comments and tidbits about the film. Probably the most interesting part of the documentary is that Warner had Hitchcock change the ending of the film. You'll have to check it out to find out why, but this decision effected Hitchcock in future films.

Grades:

Movie: 4 Stars
Video: 4 Stars
Audio: 4 Stars
Features: 3.5 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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