Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Producers: Bert E Friedlob
  • Writers: Douglas Morrow
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery
  • Actors: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine

A newspaper publisher, wanting to prove a point about the insufficiency of circumstantial evidence, talks his possible son-in-law Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews) into a hoax in an attempt to expose the alleged ineptitude of the city’s hard-line district attorney. The plan is to have Tom plant clues leading to his arrest for killing a female nightclub dancer. Once Tom is found guilty, he is to reveal the setup and humiliate the DA.

Tom agrees to the plan, not knowing that unforeseen events will put such a snag in the scheme that he ends up in danger of being executed. A friend holding back evidence that will clear Tom at his trial dies in an accident before he can testify.

Gunga Din

  • Directors: George Stevens
  • Producers: George Stevens
  • Writers: Rudyard Kipling, Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur, Joel Sayre, Fred Guiol
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, War
  • Actors: Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Eduardo Ciannelli, Sam Jaffe, Joan Fontaine

On the Northwest Frontier of colonial India, circa 1880, contact has been lost with a British outpost at Tantrapur in the midst of a telegraph message. Colonel Weed (Montagu Love) dispatches a small detachment of British Indian Army troops to investigate, led by three sergeants of the Royal Engineers, MacChesney (Victor McLaglen), Cutter (Cary Grant), and Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.), long-time friends and veteran campaigners. Although they are a disciplinary headache for their colonel, they are the right men to send on a dangerous mission. Accompanying the detail is a regimental bhisti (water-bearer), Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), who longs to throw off his lowly status and become a soldier of the Queen.

They find Tantrapur apparently deserted and set about repairing the telegraph. However, they are soon surrounded by hostile natives. The troops fight their way out. Colonel Weed and Major Mitchell (Lumsden Hare) identify an enemy weapon brought back as belonging to the Thuggee, a murderous cult that had been suppressed for many years.

Ballantine is due to leave the army in a few days to wed Emmy Stebbins (Joan Fontaine) and go into the tea business, a combined calamity that MacChesney and Cutter consider worse than death. Meanwhile, Gunga Din tells Cutter of a temple he has found, one made of gold. Cutter is determined to make his fortune, but MacChesney will have none of it and has Cutter put in the stockade to prevent his desertion. That night, Cutter escapes with Din’s help and goes to the temple, which is all that Din had claimed. Unfortunately, they discover that it belongs to the Thugs when the owners return. Cutter creates a distraction and allows himself to be captured so that Din can slip away and sound the warning.

When the regiment comes to the rescue, the guru boasts that they are marching into the trap he has set, with the three sergeants as bait. He orders his men to take their positions, but when he sees that they are unwilling to leave him in enemy hands, he leaps to his death in a pit full of cobras to remove that obstacle. Thugs then climb the temple and overwhelm the soldiers, shoot and bayonet Cutter. Gunga Din is also bayoneted, but manages with the last of his strength to climb to the top of the gold dome of the temple and sounds the alarm with the bugle. He is then shot dead, but the British force is alerted and defeats the Thuggee forces. At Din’s funeral pyre, the colonel formally inducts Gunga Din as a British soldier and reads the last lines of the Kipling poem over the body:

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.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Producers: Bert E Friedlob
  • Writers: Douglas Morrow
  • Genres: Crime, Film-Noir, Drama
  • Actors: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine

A newspaper publisher, wanting to prove a point about the insufficiency of circumstantial evidence, talks his possible son-in-law Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews) into a hoax in an attempt to expose the alleged ineptitude of the city’s hard-line district attorney. The plan is to have Tom plant clues leading to his arrest for killing a female nightclub dancer. Once Tom is found guilty, he is to reveal the setup and humiliate the DA.

Tom agrees to the plan, not knowing that unforeseen events will put such a snag in the scheme that he ends up in danger of being executed. A friend holding back evidence that will clear Tom at his trial dies in an accident before he can testify.