Suspicion

  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Producers: Uncredited, Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Edington
  • Writers: Novel, Anthony Berkeley, Screenplay, Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison, Alma Reville
  • Genres: Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Joan Fontaine, Cary Grant, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty

Handsome, irresponsible cad Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) sweeps dowdy Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) off her feet and charms her into running away and marrying him, despite the strong disapproval of her wealthy father, General McLaidlaw (Cedrick Hardwicke). After their honeymoon, they set up housekeeping in extravagant fashion, though she soon learns that Johnnie is broke and was hoping to live off her father’s generosity. She persuades him to get a job; he goes to work for his cousin, Captain Melbeck (Leo G. Carroll).

Gradually, she learns that he has continued to gamble on the horses, despite his promise to quit, and that he has sold family heirloom chairs given to them as a wedding present to help pay for things. She repeatedly catches him in lies and discovers that he has been caught embezzling and fired, though Melbeck assures her he will not prosecute if the money is repaid. Johnnie’s good-natured, if scatterbrained, friend Beaky (Nigel Bruce) tries to reassure her that her husband is a good sort, but without much success.

When the general dies, Johnnie is severely disappointed to find that he left only his portrait to Lina. He convinces Beaky to finance his next venture, a land development, even though neither he nor Beaky know much about the business. Lina tries to talk Beaky out of it, but he trusts his friend completely. Johnnie overhears and warns his wife to stay out of his affairs; nevertheless, he calls the whole thing off. When Beaky leaves for Paris, Johnnie accompanies him partway. Later, news reaches her of Beaky’s death in Paris. Johnnie lies to her and an investigating police inspector about remaining in London. This and other details lead Lina to suspect he caused it.

Needing to get away for a while, she makes up a story to stay with her mother for a few days. Johnnie insists on driving her there. He speeds recklessly on a dangerous road beside a cliff; her door pops open and she is in danger of being thrown out to her death. Johnnie reaches for her, his intent unclear to the terrified woman. When she shrinks from him, he stops the car. She comes to the conclusion that the poison was meant for his suicide to get him out of his difficulties. Her suspicions allayed, they turn around and drive home.

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