Suspicion (film)

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Suspicion (1941) is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also stars Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Isabel Jeans and Heather Angel.

It is based on Francis Iles' 1932 novel Before the Fact.

Contents

Plot

Handsome, irresponsible cad Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) sweeps dowdy Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine) off her feet and charms her into running away and marrying him, despite the strong disapproval of her wealthy father, General McLaidlaw (Sir Cedric Hardwicke). After their honeymoon, they set up housekeeping in extravagant fashion, though she soon learns that Johnnie is broke and was hoping to live off her father's generosity. She persuades him to get a job and he goes to work for his cousin, estate agent Captain Melbeck (Leo G. Carroll).

Gradually, Lina learns that Johnnie has continued to gamble on the horses, despite his promise to quit, and that he has sold family heirloom chairs given to them as a wedding present to help pay for things. She repeatedly catches him in lies and discovers that he has been caught embezzling and fired from his job, though Melbeck assures her he will not prosecute if the money is repaid. Johnnie's good-natured, if scatterbrained, friend Beaky (Nigel Bruce) tries to reassure her that her husband is a good sort, but without much success.

When the general dies, Johnnie is severely disappointed to find that he has left Lina only his portrait — which is later seen in some infrequently-used living room. He convinces Beaky to finance his next venture, a land development, even though neither of them know much about the business. Lina tries to talk Beaky out of it, but he trusts his friend completely. Johnnie overhears and warns his wife to stay out of his affairs, but later calls the whole thing off. When Beaky leaves for Paris, Johnnie accompanies him partway. Later, news reaches Lina of Beaky's death in Paris. Johnnie lies to her and an investigating police inspector about remaining in London. This and other details lead Lina to suspect he caused his friend's demise.

She begins to fear that her husband is plotting to kill her for her life insurance. He has been questioning her friend Isobel Sedbusk (Auriol Lee), a writer of mystery novels, about untraceable poisons. When Johnnie brings Lina a glass of milk (by placing a light bulb in the milk, the filmmakers made the contents appear to glow as the glass is carried upstairs by Johnnie) before bed, but she is too afraid to drink it.

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