Starring: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Running Time: 99 mins
Suspicion is an American film about a young woman, heiress to a wealthy aristocrat, who fears that the man she has recently married is plotting to murder her and take her inheritance for himself.
This isn’t a classic Hitchcock thriller, to be honest, it just doesn’t have his style marked on it at all. The problem is, unlike many of his films which are exhilarating from the get-go, this takes 50 minutes to actually really get going, and whilst the characters and actors are good enough to keep you somewhat interested before then, it’s a bit of a struggle.
To really put in how slow-starting this film is, the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia plot summary cover the first fifty minutes, while the last three or four describe the final forty minutes, where everything happens.
The problem is that there’s just too much focus on the background of Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine’s romance. Of course, it’s always interesting to know the background, but when it’s dragged out for so long and at such a slow pace, it does get quite boring and repetitive to watch.
The one thing that does keep you relatively sane during this overly drawn-out phase of the film is the two main characters. Joan Fontaine gives an excellent performance as the young heiress, and despite playing a paranoid woman, still has a very confident air about her. Meanwhile, Cary Grant was as slick as ever, and even though he plays somewhat of a flawed man, he’s too cool to ever think negatively of, but is still mysterious enough for the story to work.
This is where we come to the second phase of the film, when the ‘suspicion’ actually begins. As soon as Joan Fontaine begins her paranoia about her husband, the entire atmosphere of the film changes, and immediately becomes much more mysterious and intriguing, much more like the Hitchcock thrillers that we know and love.
For the final forty minutes, I was totally engrossed in what became an absolutely thrilling story, and one that was much more unpredictable than I had at first imagined, because Cary Grant’s performance is so good, and the screenplay is so good, you can never second guess whether this man is a murderer or not, and that really kept me on my toes.
Overall, this gets a 7.2, because despite its rather lacklustre first half, it was a real treat to get into the second half, which added a fantastically tense air of mystery to the whole story.