Suspicion (1941)

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A bookish young woman rashly marries a charming playboy but mounting circumstantial evidence of wrongdoing leads her to fear for her life.

In this early project by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock takes the formula of the breezy screwball romance and turns it on its head. The early scenes could be from any other romantic comedy from the golden age, but he uses his usual tools of misdirection, doubt and paranoia to slowly build the suspense until the sweet and innocent Joan Fontaine becomes convinced that her new husband is a murderer intent on killing her for her inheritance. There are some classic moments that are pure Hitchcock, the highlight being the way he manages to make a glass of milk menacing and it deals with one of his favourite subjects – namely psychology. Cedric Hardwicke is on hand to supply some comic relief in his trademark affable old duffer persona and it’s all very watchable.

Suspicion doesn’t rank amongst his best however, as Cary Grant is far more comfortable as charming romantic lead than suspected assassin and the conclusion is resolved far too quickly and conveniently, making the similar Rebecca a more satisfying experience as a whole.

7/10

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