Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Suspicion (1941) – Life of this City Girl

hitchcock

My best Kidney joins us today for the Alfred Hitchcock blogathon. Natasha is someone most of you are familiar with, if not, head on over and check out her wares on Life of this City Girl, touting book reviews, movie reviews, series write ups and a whole lot more! She kindly took two Hitchcock films for this blogathon, never having seen a Hitchcock film and also never having seen a Cary Grant flick. I figured we could kill two birds with one stone there!

suspicion poster

Well, here it is: my first installment of the Hitchcock film Zoë and Rob is hosting. I told Zoë to just pick two and that I would watch it. She was nice enough to suggest two that weren’t silent films and I am eternally grateful. I cannot see myself watching silent films any time soon. I was interested in participating because I have never seen a Hitchcock film and wanted to see if it was really worth the nearly mythical adoration he has across the globe.

I really enjoyed Suspicion. NOTE: IT IS IN BLACK AND WHITE, YOUR TABLET/PC/TV ISN’T BROKEN. Getting used to the black and white wasn’t difficult at all, and that surprised me. It just made the story so much more thrilling and intense.

jhonnie

Cary Grant is really attractive and a good actor for his time period. Finally seeing him definitely made me see how worthy he is of the fuss. I thought Joan Fontaine was really incredibly beautiful, and worked really well with the material that was given to her. (Fun fact: Joan Fontaine won the Academy Award for Best Actress as Lina in 1941. It is the only Academy Award a Hitchcock film won for an actress/actor’s performance)

What happens (a really short version)

Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) meets Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) on a train journey. He seems quite taken with her and they are soon courting, despite her initial reluctance. When she hears her parents complain that she is still not married, she kisses Johnnie and not a long while after they are married in court.

Lina realises that Johnnie is irresponsible, a gambler and maybe even a murderer. She becomes highly suspicious of her husband’s actions, eventually believing he is out to kill her.

Is Johnnie trying to kill Lina? Is there any hope left for their marriage? 

What I liked:

The surprising amount of what I perceived as girl power. 1941 wasn’t exactly the year of feminism, and yet Lina displays a good amount of taking on her husband, questioning his decisions and voicing her opinions. What is depicted on screen is often way off base with what is happening in society, but I did like this woman speaking up for herself.

Cary Grant as the sketchy Johnnie Aysgarth. I have mentioned his dashing looks so I will rather mention his acting abilities right now. He really did come across as very charming and like a man who knows his way around the ladies, and who has an addiction and basically not a strong moral platform he works from.

The movie was a nice length. I really do dislike movies that are closing in on two hours, or even worse three hours. It is often so unnecessary and stretched out. This was one hour and 40 minutes and I found that fine – exactly the amount needed to tell the story.

The black and white: Suspicion was naturally filmed in this way because the technology was limited to two colors back then, but it worked. The black and white is striking and focuses your eyes on the smaller details of the scene: the lights, the outfits.

The hints Hitchcock uses to make you understand what his characters won’t voice out loud. 

Lina

What I didn’t like:

There really isn’t something I can point as what I didn’t like. I can say that the end felt just a bit rushed – everything came down to the last ten minutes.

What I am trying to say:

Suspicion was entertaining, I am happy I saw it and can see myself maybe watching it sometime in the distant future again. This film of Hitchcock is worthy of the praise it received and he was an excellent director. I am now much keener to see the second movie that I am supposed to watch, I Confess.

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