Plot: What’s it about?
Even in the earlier Alfred Hitchcock films, women have always played a key role. One of his constant co-stars in the early days was Joan Fontaine. Coming off an Academy Award nomination for Rebecca, she signed on with the first in many collaborations with a leading man that would carry on (no pun intended) into the fifties as one of the Hitchcock regulars. With the arrival of a handsome young man, it leads to love, surprise and Suspicion.
Lina (Joan Fontaine) is on a train and hears a man’s voice as the tunnel hits on her trip. When the light hits, a handsome young man (Cary Grant) starts chatting up with her on a third class ticket in a first class compartment. Little does she realize later that this man, Johnny Aysgarth, is a playboy who has had his way with the ladies once or twice. Lina catches his eye and she follows suit and the two have a nice sweet loving time. That is until a few lies surface about Johnny and although she loves him, Lina fears the worst when one of his best friends turns up dead on a “business meeting”.
This is a twisty but light effort that has it’s share of comic moments between the two stars. This is the first time Hitch and Cary Grant worked with each other and in this case he works well being the playboy with the money problems and a few key lies that could do him in. Like The Wrong Man, Hitchcock seems to cover horses and debt in black and white and it’s usually affected by the male lead.
Joan Fontaine gives a superb performance as Lina, the one gal who’s nerves are always on the edge when lie after lie is revealed yet somehow her love for Johnny isn’t affected no matter what cover ups Johnny throws her way.
Even some other Hitchcock regulars give solid support like Leo G, Carroll as Johnny’s former boss and of course the master himself makes his regular cameo (check the mailbox). Despite some nice moments and the swift pace of the film, it’s much lighter and less thrilling than some of Hitch’s later pictures. Through it all it’s entertaining, amusing and a good piece of black and white literally from Alfred Hitchcock.
Video: How does it look?
Suspicion has retained it’s full frame look and the results are good for the most part but not great. The print is clear and better than it’s ever looked but there are hints of grain every ten minutes of the film and well as a few specks but most notably, there are streaks in the print that is more apparant than not in certain key scenes. Age has not boded well in some parts of the print but for the most part, Warner gives a nice presentation but with it’s share of print flaws.
Audio: How does it sound?
Suspicion is in the Digital Mono track and the sound is mostly in the middle channels judging from the muted condition of the track. The dialogue comes out sharp without that period’s cracks and pops but some of the microphone choppy sound is apparent through some of the track mixed in with the score. It’s good and it’s all it can be. This disc also has English, French and Spanish subtitles
Supplements: What are the extras?
Along with the film’s hearbreakingly rough looking theatrical trailer, there is a 20 minute featurette called Before The Fact: Suspicious Hitchcock interviewing present day film historians, Hitchcock’s daughter and film directors discussing the film from the planning to shooting to the end result. This is another superb Laurent Bouzereau piece that puts everything together very nicely and gives a nice discussion about this Hitchcock title and where it’s place is after the other films of Hitchcock.
Overall, Suspicion is a quick piece that is light in heart, with few thrills, an amusing atmosphere and a nicely recommended DVD.