Lin Falls In Love and All Bets are Off!
Scene: Is going to run away with John to elope; touching scene when she walks in to her parents room -- dad smoking his pipe; mother crocheting -- and though they do not suspect a thing, she is torn with guilt. Joan Fontaine's acting in this scene is quite heart-wrenching!
Some humor: it seems dear Johnny lives off other peoples' money and when asked by his new wife how is he going to pay for this new house, the maid, etc., he says, "Borrow more!" When she says get a job, he does a double-take! Oh brother!
Or when he gets two antique chairs from his new father-in-law, his first thought is to sell them, as he shrugs to the audience.
Susp*cion spends a lot of time on the romance and the "look what I got myself into" sort of plot between these newlyweds.
But soon, she begins to suspect a dark side to Johnny, a side that may mean her murder at his hands!
He said he had a job, but his best pal Beaky says that he was at the races! Oh, what happened to the antique chairs? He sold them to pay his gambling and betting debts! Oh boy! "Well, of course it's Johnny!"
She finds her antiques in an antique shop -- soon after, he gets her a mink, jewels and Beekie a cane! He won a bit of money in the races. Leni is shocked! "See, that's Johnny!" Where did he get the money? She forgives him when he buys the chairs back.
The first half of the film runs like a romantic comedy for sure, complete with flutes and silly music in the background.
But the music gets darker as Leni is finding out more and more that her husband lives off other people's wealth and she's not happy about it. She finds that he was at the races again, even though he promised he wouldn't and also that he was caught embezzling from his employer who laid him off six weeks before and never told her. The employer/cousin is played by Leo G. Carroll, who appeared in several Hitchc*ck films over the years.
Lina has had enough, packs her bags and writes a letter telling him that she is leaving him. Another emotional scene, as she writes these words and realizes what they mean to her as well as to their relationship. Touching stuff. But then she rips up the letter. Johnny then walks into the room and they have a confrontation. However, he reveals that her father has passed away and hands her the telegram.
Now, all through the film there have been the comments here and there "Do you think I'm trying to kill you?" and other such murderous thoughts that she does not "tweak" on until later in the film.
The famous milk scene when an apparently glowing glass of milk is taken up the stairs and presented to his wife. And earlier, Johnny was asking someone about an odorless, tasteless poison.
The end of the film is gripping and suspenseful. The beginning though plays like an average tired romantic film. It's not sure if it wants to be a "chick flick" or a romantic "murder mystery."
I'm happy to report that Hitchc*ck polished his skills as a director in the 1950s, but Susp*cion, though well done, does not yet meet the bar set by later films.
As a final note, I like the 1940s chaste kissing in romantic films better than the "eating face" slobbering of some of today's romantic films and television.
There was more an air of mystery and excitement in these films that one is hard-pressed to discover today in most films. Some romantic films do have that charm, such as the recent "The Proposal." But these are rare.
Joan Fontaine won Best Actress for her portrayal of the bookish, conservative Lina.
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