Suspicion – Alfred Hitchcock
Actually, it is only when one examines the full Hitchcock catalogue that one realizes how very different each Hitchcock film is from the others. The best ones are those which fall, in part, into the gothic romance class: Rebecca, Suspicion, Notorious (1946), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Strangers on a Train (1951), Vertigo (1958), and Psycho (1960). Yet, all have only one characteristic in common: the suspense is gained by honest cinematography, with the camera used as a reflection of the mind of the audience. Hitchcock knows his use of the camera well, and he always tells his tale with it. This is true even when he presents his most un-Hitchcocklike story: The Wrong Man (1957), based upon a true story of a miscarriage of justice, in which the wrong man has been accused circumstantially of a crime, and is found guilty. In all his films, Hitchcock’s sense of humor always takes an impudent turn; drollery, audacity, and mockery are integral parts of his method. In addition, no one knows better than he how to achieve the most from a stunning moment of shock, or even horror.
Since he favored such stunning blondes as Madeleine Carroll and Grace Kelly as heroines, Hitchcock has been accused of prejudice in favor of the stylish but icy blonde. Yet in some of his best accomplishments, nonblond heroines such as Joan Fontaine and Ingrid Bergman have been warm, compassionate, and moving. Cary Grant is considered the definitive Hitchcock hero; he effectively plays against adventure and melodrama with a becoming tongue-in-cheek disbelief of what is happening to him in such films as Notorious, North by Northwest (1959), and To Catch a Thief (1955), in addition to Suspicion. But Hitchcock has been as compatible with other actors quite unlike Cary Grant. James Stewart, for example, responded to the Hitchcock spell in such films as Rear Window (1954), the remake of The Man Who Knew
Too Much (1955), and Vertigo, a rare masterpiece for both Hitchcock and Stewart.
Suspicion, however, was the real challenge, and early proving ground for Hitchcock: Selznick had brought him to Hollywood from England, and his first picture in’Hollywood, Rebecca, was an overwhelming success. His next two films, Foreign Correspondent (1940) and the unlikely Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941), had almost been enough to brand him as a one-time success in this country. But Suspicion proved his talent anew, and from this film forward he has seldom erred; no other director has been so consistently successful. He has been admired and imitated, but he remains uniquely Hitchcock, “master of suspense.” He has made films his primary interest in life, and Suspicion is an important title in any list of his work.
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