Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock, 1941)

Suspicion functions as a combination of Rebecca and Shadow of a Doubt, and it just so happens to sit in between the two in terms of quality. The film is excellently cast with Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant – Lina (Fontaine) is not expected to marry, as her parents consider her shy qualities to prevent her from ever obtaining a husband. Enter Johnnie (Grant) – he offers Lina a life of luxury that will allow her to break away from the chains of mundanity. And that’s exactly what happens – Johnnie and Lina take vacations, buy a luxurious home, and embrace the material. But Lina soon discovers that Johnnie is obtaining his money through borrowing from friends. Johnnie’s gambling concerns Lina, as a lingering sense of mistrust and deceit becomes prevalent. Johnnie’s gambling throws him into debt, which serves to strain the marriage. Lina becomes fearful of her life, particularly after the death of friend who happened to be very close to Johnnie – could Johnnie have killed him for the money?

My immediate reaction to Suspicion was that it defied my expectations – Cary Grant as a potential murderer was delightfully surprising. But as the film reached its conclusion, and upon reading about Hitchcock’s intended ending, Suspicion is merely a shell of what it could have been. The conclusion really hinders what could have been a genuinely arresting film. Shadow of a Doubt rectifies Suspicion’s problematic conclusion, but also supplants a lesser actor in the role of Grant. Furthermore, the narrative structure of Suspicion is far more compelling. Very much a performance driven film, Suspicion was simply a missed opportunity, because the components were all there for something truly amazing.