Independent Films, Film Profiles
Suspicion (1941) is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also stars Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Isabel Jeans and Heather Angel.It is based on Francis Iles' 1932 novel Before the Fact.Before the Fact is the story of Lina, a "born victim." She is raised in the country in the early decades of the 20th century and, at 28, she is still a virgin and in danger of becoming an old spinster. She finds country life with her parents rather boring, and only lives for strangers that might be passing through or that have been invited by someone living in or near their village. When the novel opens, such a stranger has just arrived: 27 year-old Johnnie Aysgarth, from an impoverished family who are, as she is told, "of rotten stock". General McLaidlaw, Lina's father, is opposed to the marriage, and everyone seems to know that all that Johnnie is after is Lina's money.In spite of these difficulties, Lina and Johnnie get married after only a short engagement. They go to Paris on their honeymoon, where they stay at the best hotels and dine at the best restaurants, and, on their return, move into an eight-bedroom house in London. Only six weeks later, Johnnie, who is jobless, admits to his wife that they have been living on borrowed money and that it has run out. Gradually, unwillingly, Lina takes charge of the couple's finances and suggests that Johnnie get a regular job. They leave the expensive house and move to the country in a part of Dorset where they do not know anybody. Reluctantly, Johnnie takes a job as the steward of a large estate of a Captain Melbeck.As time goes by, Lina gradually learns that Johnnie is a crook. Apart from being a compulsive liar, he turns out to be a thief, a forger, an embezzler, an adulterer, and eventually, a murderer.However, Lina's death will be Johnnie's first "real" murder. He goes to great lengths to conceive an undetectable murder. When Isobel Sedbusk, the author of detective stories, happens to spend the summer in their village, he associates with her and, on the pretext of discussing material for her new book, elicits a new method of murder from her: swallowing an alkali commonly used, but never suspected of being poisonous, and which leaves no trace in the human body for a post-mortem to find. At the very end of the novel, Lina, who really seems to have gone mad, catches the flu. She has been waiting for her husband to try to murder her for months now. When he brings her a drink, she swallows it deliberately, knowing that it is a poisonous cocktail. Johnny is going to get away with it ("People did die of influenza."), which is what Lina, so much in love with her husband, hopes will happen.
Year of Production: 1941
Length: 99 min.
Country: United States
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Uncredited:, Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Edington
- Joan Fontaine, Cary Grant, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Leo G. Carroll