SUSPICION
1941, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s technique takes a huge leap forward with this extremely unsettling piece of "escapist" entertainment. Young wife Joan Fontaine suspects that husband Cary Grant is trying to kill her, and the question of whether she’s prescient or paranoid dominates the film. Throughout the movie Hitchcock toys with our assumptions, a conceit that works thanks to Grant’s astonishing performance (one of the best of his career). Without resorting to gimmicks or dishonesty, Grant convincingly plays the husband in a manner that makes both his guilt and his innocence equally valid possibilities, and Hitchcock adds to the overall sense of menace with subtle visual devices (he rarely shows Grant actually walking into a shot, for example - he always seems to magically appear like a ghost). The studio-imposed finale has divided Hitchcock fans on SUSPICION’s merits, but Grant’s consummate professionalism allows Hitch to pull off the last-minute reversal.


TO CATCH A THIEF
1955, Paramount, 106 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Retired cat burglar Cary Grant and ravishing American party girl Grace Kelly fall in love against a backdrop of fireworks, the French Riviera and a string of unsolved jewel robberies - all the while wearing some of Edith Head’s most stunning costumes. Alfred Hitchcock’s tongue-in-cheek soufflé, complete with surprisingly daring sexual innuendos for the time, is perfect escapist fare. With Charles Vanel (WAGES OF FEAR), Brigitte Auber.


NOTORIOUS
1946, Walt Disney Co., 101 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Director Alfred Hitchcock’s superb espionage thriller and intoxicating love story follows allied agent Cary Grant as he convinces disillusioned party girl Ingrid Bergman, the daughter of a supposed traitor, to marry and spy on her father’s Nazi friend (Claude Rains). This seemingly clever plan becomes complicated by the smoldering romance that emerges between Grant and Bergman. Set in Brazil during WWII, the film has an exceptionally subtle yet menacing portrayal of the Nazis, as exemplified by Rains’ show-stealing, weirdly sympathetic performance.


Syndicate content