Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Suspicion (1941)

After receiving so many wonderful responses in last week’s post, today I am resuming regularly scheduled programming for Todd Mason’s ‘Overlooked Films’ internet meme … (be sure to visit his site for additional titles).

This week my fascination with Cary Grant continues with my selection – Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion from 1941.

The film is based on the English novel, Before the Fact written by English novelist Anthony Berkeley Cox (under the pen name of Frances Iles).

As the good folks at Fear.NET stated:

From the very beginning of this film, Cary Grant does an excellent job of being both charming and just off-balance enough to keep his beautiful wife Joan Fontaine (and the audience) guessing about his intentions, which may or may not be quite diabolical.

How true this statement is. While Suspicion is never considered in the upper ranks of his later masterpieces (principally from the 1950’s), this film is notable in that it was the director’s first of many collaborations with Mr. Grant. In giving Grant a charming yet fiendish streak, Hitchcock was taking a big risk with one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.

In fact, it was long rumored that an “alternate” ending scripted in which Lina’s suspicions of Aysgarth proved correct, keeping in line with the source material. This however has been disputed by Hitchcock biographer Daniel Spoto in his book The Dark Side Of Genius: The Life Of Alfred Hitchcock.



For her performance, the lead actress (Joan Fontaine) was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actress (although her performance in the previous year’s Rebecca has much more layers and gravitas).



  1. This is one of my favorite Cary Grant movies and favorite movies in general. HIghly recommended! I don’t know if the alternate ending was actually filmed but I’m fairly certain that Hitchcock only reluctantly changed it. Thanks for getting the word out there about SUSPICION with this excellent post!
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  2. I would have to agree that desspite the famous setpieces, likes that wonderful glass of milk shot, which Atom Egoyan’ did a nice pastiche of in FELICIA’S JOURNEY, this probably is second tier Hitch, especially compared with shadow of a doubt.

    Dan Aulier has unearthed some fascinating information about the development of the script which is available in his publication, ‘Hitchcock’s Notebooks’
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  3. Not one of my favorite Cary Grant films. I just had trouble accepting his character. Especially once I knew the ‘real’ ending to the story from Iles’ book.

    Now that you mention REBECCA – wouldn’t Grant have made a terrific Maxim DeWinter? Olivier was fine, but…

    Sergio, thanks for the tip about Hitchcock’s Notebooks. I’ll have to try and get a copy.
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    • I am sure your knowledge of how the book panned out affected the film experience. Olivier was okay I admit, but if I recall my lore correctly, he wanted Vivien Leigh to play the second Mrs. DeWinter and was not well pleased with her not being in it.

      (BTW Rebecca is one of my all-time favorite books!)

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    Yes, knowing the real ending ruined it. Just felt completely false from start to finish.

  5. Jack Deth says:

    Hi, Iluv and company:

    An excellent choice and first rate review!

    I enjoy watching Cary Grant tread that fine line and pulling it off so well. Exercising and honing talents that would come to life in later Hitchcock films.

    Joseph Cotten did it more creepily, but Hitch, Grant and company hold the suspense more deftly in ‘Suspicion’.

  6. I enjoy this movie, it’s probably one of my favorite Hitchcock films. I do wish they’d gone with the original ending to indulge my need to see Grant play a villain (not to mention I hate reading that comment Hitchcock supposedly made about wanting the movie to show the hysterical nature of women). A solid suspense thriller!

  7. I have not seen any Joan Fontaine film, so I think this will be my first 🙂
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    • I LOVE Joan Fontaine and her sister too – Olivia deHavilland. If you have not seen any of Olivia’s films (although I suspect you have seen “Gone With the Wind”), I would recommend making The Adventures of Robin Hood your first. It is an awesome movie. An all time favorite.


  1. […] It should also be noted that Dame May Whitty is featured in this film. Largely unknown by audiences today, she was a renowned stage actress who found a second life of sorts in the movies, with roles in such films as The Lady Vanishes, Mrs. Miniver and Suspicion. […]

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