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Suspicion: Warner Archive Collection (1941) - Blu-ray Review

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Suspicion: Warner Archive Collection (1941)

Was he trying to kiss or kill her on that hilltop?  The verdict is still out as Suspicion makes its debut on blu-ray thanks to the efforts of the Warner Archive Collection.

Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of Francis Iles's novel Before the Fact - which is as dissimilar as they can be when it comes to film adaptations - begins in total darkness and for good reason.  This movie, being a psychological thriller,  is all about casting shadows of doubt on one of its main characters which Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense, does incredibly well through various means - one of them being a very strong and savage use of Johann Strauss's waltz "Wiener Blut" as heard through another character’s point of view.

"proof positive that Hitchcock, abrupt ending and all, was going to make the most of his American filmmaking journey . . . even if he wouldn’t always get along with the production companies"


 

And so it is that in total darkness is how Suspicion begins.  After all, we are dealing with a woman who suspects her husband of trying to kill her.  

Already, our viewing senses are thrown off as a train whistle blasts through the darkness first.  Oh, okay, we are on a train going through a tunnel.  Got it.  Then, above the racket, we hear a voice cut through the pitch black as that passenger train exits the tunnel.  It is of an apology as Cary Grant playing playboy Johnnie Aysgarth accidentally bumps into Joan Fontaine (who would win an Oscar for her work here) as Lina McLaidlaw and asks for her forgiveness; he’s going to be asking for it a lot throughout this movie.  

Scoundrels might be lovable, but they never change.

Regardless, Johnnie is stricken by Lina immediately.  So much so, that later - in spite of her father, General McLaidlaw (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), and his disapproval - the two elope and are off on an expensive honeymoon where Lina discovers that Johnnie has no job, loves to gamble, and plans to live off of her father for as long as possible.  Suspicion: Warner Archive Collection (1941)

With only Beaky (Nigel Bruce, who brings so much greatness to the role) to vouch for Johnnie being a likable liar, Lina finds herself doubting Johnnie’s every move as his lies become rising waters that he drowns in repeatedly in her eyes.  She can’t trust him and, as Grant absolutely becomes the character right before our eyes, watching and listening to him turn what should be innocent lines into creepy reasons to distrust and eventually leave him.becomes part of the dizzying fun of Hitchcock’s film.

Masterfully filmed by cinematographer Harry Stradling (who previously shot Mr. and Mrs. Smith for Hitchcock), Suspicion is proof positive that Hitchcock, abrupt ending and all, was going to make the most of his American filmmaking journey . . . even if he wouldn’t always get along with the production companies.

Suspicion is now available on blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.

5/5 stars

Suspicion: Warner Archive Collection (1941)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- April 12, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Czech, Polish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)French: Dolby Digital 2.0 MonoSpanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

In Suspicion, wealthy, sheltered Joan Fontaine is swept off her feet by charming ne'er-do-well Cary Grant. Though warned that Grant is little more than a fortune hunter, Fontaine marries him anyway. She remains loyal to her irresponsible husband as he plows his way from one disreputable business scheme to another. Gradually, Fontaine comes to the conclusion that Grant intends to do away with her in order to collect her inheritance...a suspicion confirmed when Grant's likeable business partner Nigel Bruce dies under mysterious circumstances. Suspicion's stylish chills put Hitchcock on the top of the Hollywood heap...and keep audiences on the edges of their seats to this day. So hang on for all-out suspense that's all-out Hitchcock

Video:

Framed in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, this release is a glorious monument to stirring black-and-white cinematography as the details in each of the rooms absolutely burst out of the edges of this transfer with depth and surprising detail.  The locations in this film- with clean black lines and sparkling grays - is intoxicating.  This is a grand transfer with a clarity that is appreciated and thanks to the work here it looks all the more gorgeous.  Truly a wonderful handling of this transfer.

Audio:

The Mono DTS-HD Master Audio English is plenty good for this film.  Dialogue is crisp and clean and the music swells appropriately.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There are two attached to this release.  The first is a documentary about the making of the movie and the second is the original RKO trailer.

  • Before the Fact: Suspicious Hitchcock
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

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Suspicion: Warner Archive Collection (1941)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
99 mins
Director
: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer:
Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison
Cast:
Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke
Genre
: Film-noir | Thriller
Tagline:
Each time they kissed... there was the thrill of love... the threat of murder!
Memorable Movie Quote: "If you're going to kill someone, do it simply."
Theatrical Distributor:
RKO Pictures
Official Site: https://www.thehustle.movie/
Release Date:
November 14, 1941
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 12, 2016.
Synopsis: Well-to-do wallflower Lina McLaidlaw is in love, perhaps in danger. She suspects that Johnnie Aysgarth, the playboy who swept into her life and married her, is a murderer - and that she is his next intended victim.

Suspicion: Warner Archive Collection (1941)

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