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Character's Name: Johnnie Aysgarth
Release Date:  November 14, 1941
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Studio:  RKO Radio
Running Time: 102 minutes

Cast: Cary Grant (Johnnie Aysgarth), Joan Fontaine (Lina McLaidlaw), Cedric Hardwicke (Gen. McLaidlaw), Nigel Bruce (Beaky Thwaite), Dame May Whitty (Mrs. McLaidlaw), Isabel Jeans (Mrs. Newsham), Heather Angel (Ethel - maid), Auriol Lee (Isobel Sedbusk), Reginald Sheffield (Reggie Wetherby), Lee G. Carroll (Captain Melbeck)

- by ZoŽ Shaw
Johnnie is sincere for the first time in his life when he falls in love with Lina. When Beaky, a friend, dies suddenly, Lina begins to believe that Johnnie is a murderer and that she will be the next victim.

- by Georgia Williams
The film version of Frances Iles' Before the Fact , Alfred Hitchcock’s 'Suspicion' is a sordid look at a wife suspecting her husband of murder. Cary Grant is Johnnie Aysgarth, a charming, debonair, English bachelor who surprisingly falls in love with the bookish Lina McLaidlaw (Joan Fontaine). As Johnnie has been cheating and stealing since school days the relationship is not exactly welcomed by Lina's parents causing the two to elope.

Once back from their honeymoon Lina discovers that Johnnie has no income but what is more distressing, he has bought them an expensive house and commissioned an interior designer and to add to that gambles what little money they have at the racetrack.

Due to Lina's obvious disapproval, Johnnie finds a job working for a relative of his, Captain Melbeck, played by Leo G. Carroll, but to afford the good life he so enjoys becomes involved in an embezzling scheme and is promptly fired but neglects to inform Lina.

Beaky a friend of Johnnie's arrives as a houseguest and Johnnie's strange behaviour towards him causes Lina to assume that maybe there is more to Johnnie than she would like to acknowledge, a dark and sinister side.

The two boys then decide to go to Europe to investigate a financial venture but Beaky suddenly dies which forces Lina to think that Johnnie is a murderer and she is his next victim and every unusual action he makes, Lina interprets as an attempt on her life.

She falls ill due to either stress or worry and decides it would be best if she spent a few weeks with her mother but Johnnie is not too happy with the prospect but as he cannot change her mind insists on driving her. While driving round the seaside cliffs of the English countryside Lina's door swings open and Johnnie swings over to pull her back in, but she thinks to push her out. He stops the car and explains all his sinister actions were attempted suicide as he was in such dire straits concerning money and that he had no intention of harming her in anyway.

The conclusion was as weak as water compared to quite a compelling film, and it was not the way in which Hitchcock had intended but as always the studios stepped in yet again to ruin another superior film. RKO did not wish for Cary Grant to play a murderer and in the proposed ending of Cary delivering Lina a glass of poisoned milk (the films most famous scene) and posting a letter from Lina to her mother whistling on his way was considered far too risky as it may have affected Grants box office draw.

VARIETY Film Review - September 24, 1941
- by "Walt"
- by Barry Martin
Alfred Hitchcock's trademarked cinematic development of suspenseful drama, through mental emotions of the story principals, is vividly displayed in 'Suspicion,' a class production provided with excellence in direction, acting and mounting.  Picture is due for critical attention and strong women patronage in the key runs, to follow through for profitable biz in the subsequent bookings with the adult trade.

Joan Fontaine equals her highly-rating performance in 'Rebecca' as the pivotal factor in the tale, successfully transposing to the screen her innermost emotions and fears over the wastrel and apparently-murderous antics of her husband.  Cary Grant, although gaining no sympathy in his role of the latter, turns in a sparkling characterization as the bounder who continually discounts financial responsibilities and finally gets jammed over thefts from his employer.  Nigel Bruce is outstanding in support, with Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Dame May Whitty, and Heather Angel capably handling respective cast assignments.

In switching tragic ending of Francis Iles' novel in favor of a happy finale, Hitchcock and his scripters devised a most inept and inconclusive windup that fails to measure up to the dramatic intensity of preceding footage, and this doesn't reach the climax expected.  In this respect, picture structure is deficient, and it is obvious that the writers endeavored to toss in the happy ending in a few hundred feet and let it go at that.

Unfolded in the leisurely pace that is characteristic of British cinematic story-telling technique, Hitchcock deftly displays the effect of occurrences on the inner emotions of the wife.  Protected girl of an English country manor, Miss Fontaine falls in love and elopes with Grant, an impecunious and happy-go-lucky individual, who figured her family would amply provide for both of them.  Deeply in love, she overlooks his monetary irresponsibilities until discovery that he has stolen a large sum from an estate, and prosecution and exposure looms.  Burden of events finally develops mental attitude that her husband would even commit murder to secure funds for repayment, and this suspicion is heightened when Grant's friend, Bruce, dies during visit to Paris - with the wife believing the husband responsible.  Finally at the breaking point of nervous tension, she believes Grant would even stoop to poisoning her to secure insurance to repay his thefts.  Finish, with satisfactory explanations and happy reconciliation, replaces the tragic ending of the book.

Under Hitchcock's guidance, picture develops plenty of suspense and appeal to the women sector in displaying a wife's development of mental hysteria through burden of real or imagined criminal tendencies.  Production is excellently mounted throughout, with English settings and Harry Stradling's photography of top grade.  

NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - November 21, 1941
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
If Alfred Hitchcock were not the fine film director that he is, the chances are better than even that he would be a distinguished light at the (legal) bar.  For very few lawyers are gifted with the special ability which is his to put a case together in the most innocent but subtle way, to plant prima facie evidence without rousing the slightest alarm and then suddenly to muster his assumptions and drive home a staggering attack.  Mr. Hitchcock is probably the most artful sophist working for the films - and anyone who doesn't think so should see "Suspicion" at the Music Hall.

True, we should incidentally warn you that this is not Mr. Hitchcock at his best, for the clerical staff which helped him prepare his brief for this case did not provide too much in the way of material.  Those highly intriguing complications which have featured some of his previous master works are lacking in this instance.  Rather Mr. Hitchcock is compelled to construct his attack around a straight psychological progression: a shy, deeply sensitive English girl marries a charming rakehell in maiden innocence, and then, through accumulated evidence, begins to suspect him of dark and foul deeds, suspects of murdering two dear people and finally of having designs upon herself.

Clearly, Mr. Hitchcock's problem is to give this simple story great consequence - to build, out of slight suggestions and vague, uncertain thoughts, a mounting tower of suspicion which looms forbiddingly.  And this he does magnificently with his customary casualness.  An early remark dropped by the girl's father to the effect that her intended is a cheat, a scene in which the husband acts strangely indifferent to a friend when the latter is seized with a heart attack, a little squabble over a slight untruth - all are directed by Mr. Hitchcock so that they seem inconsequential at the time but still with a sinister undertone which grows as the tension mounts.  

Much of his purpose is accomplished through the performance of Joan Fontaine, it must be said, and she, as well as Mr. Hitchcock, deserves unstinted praise.  This young lady has unquestionably become one of the finest actresses on the screen, and one of the most beautiful, too; and her development in this picture of a fear-tortured character is fluid and compelling all tlhe way.  Cary Grant as the husband is provokingly irresponsible, boyishly gay and also oddly mysterious, as the role properly demands; and Nigel Bruce, Sir Cedric Hardwick and Leo G. Carroll are fine in minor roles.

One must remark that the ending is not up to Mr. Hitchcock's usual style, and the general atmosphere of the picture is far less genuine than he previously has wrought.  But still he has managed to bring through a tense and exciting take, a psychological thriller which is packed with lively suspense and a picture that entertains you from beginning to - well, almost the end.  

- by Kathy Fox
This is Cary Grant's first motion picture with Alfred Hitchcock and his second movie with Joan Fontaine.  Joan appeared with Cary Grant in 1939 in GUNGA DIN.  This picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, for Best Director, and for Best Actress, but only Joan Fontaine won in the Best Actress category.  Cary plays the part of Johnny Asygarth, a ne're-do-well,  and Joan Fontaine plays Lina McLaidlaw a wealthy young lady.  They meet on a train and Johnny pursues Lina and they are finally married without her parent's permission.  The script was not finished when filming began and revisions continued throughout shooting.  Since the ending was not known, Grant and Fontaine had a difficult time finding their characters' motivations.  The book Before the Fact, a British novel, on which SUSPICION is based, has the ending of Johnny Asygarth murdering his wife.  However, since Cary Grant was playing the part, it was decided that he could not be a murderer, so the film played out the scenario that Lina only thought in her mind that her husband was going to kill her.  Many of the things that he did reinforced her feelings that he only married her for her money.  You can see Cary on the screen turn from a laughing, funny and enjoyable person in an instant to a menacing individual.  It is interesting to see how quickly he could change from looking a good person, to looking a bad person.  A true test of talent, probably one he did not know he possessed.  Cary usually was distrusting of his directors, but he and Alfred Hitchcock become life-long friends with the filming of this movie, and of course, Cary made three more Hitchcock films in 1946, 1955, and 1959.  This was my introduction to the "upicital mapilary" on the human body.  So now we know what that is.  In one scene, Lina cuts her dress away at the top because Johnny was so fascinated with her upicital mapilary in one of the first scenes.  I liked SUSPICION, and highly recommended it.  Of course watching the films over and over again, makes them quite familiar and that is a pleasant knowledge to possess about our Mr. Grant.

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