SUSPICION

(1941)
With Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Nigel Bruce, Cedric Hardwicke, Dame Mae Whitty
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

"That's it - no more tacos at rest stops!"      Most assessments of Alfred Hitchcock's SUSPICION tend to read the same: a decent film until its studio-imposed copout of an ending.  According to the familiar version of events, RKO refused to allow Cary Grant to be cast as a killer, forcing Hitchcock to tack on a hastily rewritten denouement.  Recent research, however, has revealed that the studio made its demands before a first draft of the screenplay was even completed, meaning that the film's ending was in place from day one.  (It's true that Hitchcock would have preferred a darker conclusion with Grant exposed as a murderer, but the film was never conceived around such an ending.)  Frankly, I don't know what all the fuss is about because the ending as it stands is perfectly logical.  Joan Fontaine is excellent in an Oscar-winning performance as a slightly more self-assured version of her REBECCA character, but Grant is even better in one of his most complex roles as the mysterious Johnnie Aysgarth, a man with two contradictory personalities.  Yet despite its memorable characters and outstanding performances, as well as Hitchcock's continued growth as a technician and storyteller, SUSPICION is a somewhat flat film that really should be better than it is.  But don't blame the ending.  I don't, anyway.  ½ - JL

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