EACH TIME THEY KISSED… THERE WAS THE THRILL OF LOVE… THE THREAT OF MURDER!
Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) marries playboy Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant), but their marriage is off to a rocky start; eventually, she starts to believe that he wants her dead. Director Alfred Hitchcock reunited with Fontaine after the previous year’s Rebecca for another movie where her marriage more or less leads to disaster…. that is, until the notorious happy ending, which was tacked on against Hitch’s wishes and has a false ring to it. Apart from that, the marriage is portrayed in a humorous and interesting way; there’s definitely a tension to what goes on. Good performances from the actors, not least Nigel Bruce as the childish Beaky.
1941-U.S. 99 min. B/W. Produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Screenplay: Samson Raphaelson, Alma Reville, Joan Harrison. Novel: Anthony Berkeley (“Before the Fact”). Cast: Cary Grant (Johnnie Aysgarth), Joan Fontaine (Lina McLaidlaw), Cedric Hardwicke (General McLaidlaw), Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Isabel Jeans… Leo G. Carroll.
Trivia: Remade as a TV movie, Suspicion (1987).
Oscar: Best Actress (Fontaine).
Last word (spoiler!): “The correct ending of ‘Suspicion’ – which was never shot but which I wanted to do – was that Fontaine writes a letter to her mother, saying that she is in love with her husband, but she feels he is a murderer. She doesn’t want to live anymore and she’s willing to die by his hand. But she thinks society should be protected from him. He comes up with the fatal glass of milk, gives it to her. Before she drinks, she says, ‘Will you mail this letter to mother for me?’ And she drinks the milk and dies. Fade out. Fade in on one short shot: a cheerful, whistling Cary Grant coming to the mail box and popping the letter in. Finish. But, you see, Cary Grant couldn’t be a murderer. It was the same problem as I had with Novello in ‘The Lodger’. (Hitchcock, interview with Peter Bogdanovich)