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Today's Daily Dose is an early scene from Notorious (1946). Watch the scene over at the Canvas course site, and come back here to share your insights with a special focus on the film's two biggest stars, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. As it is Noir Crossover Week, you can also discuss what these two stars contribute to the noir style in what has come to be recognized as a classic film noir. Here are three questions to get you started: What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene? What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography? Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas?
Note: Because this thread discusses the ending of a film, of course there are SPOILERS. Suspicion is notorious (pun INTENDED) for the changed ending from the book. The producers, concerned about Cary Grant's image, demanded the change. In the book, Johnny (Cary Grant), is a murderer, while in the movie, he is not a murderer. Most people, including Hitchcock himself, complain about the change, and feel that by Hollywood imposing a happy ending it weakens the picture. I am in a minority for two reasons, one obvious, and one perhaps not. Firstly, I agree with the producers, in that I myself wouldn't really want to see Grant as someone who could murder someone as sweet as his wife, Lina. In all of Hitchcock's American films, there are only two star turns as a murder: Shadow of a Doubt, and DIal M for Murder. Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant never played murderers in Hitchcock. If fact a great bulk of his output featured an innocent man accused of a crime, having to clear himself. However, my MAIN reason, and one which may not as obvious, is that to me it actually makes the film much more interesting. I try to imagine a film where Johnny is really a murderer, and this is what I see: --- A woman marries a man, and slowly discovers clues, bit by bit, that make her REALIZE he is a murderer, and will eventually murder her. OK, that's not bad, but pretty conventional. It is like any other mystery, where clues are found slowly leading the protagonist to the solution. Now let us look at the film: --- A woman marries a man, and slowly discovers clues, bit by bit, that make her BELIEVE he is a murderer, but in the end finds out she is wrong. Now the film becomes psychological - it becomes a matter of perception vs, reality. Whenever she sees some information, it is filtered through her perception that he may be a bad man which leads her to INTERPRET it as a clue proving his guilt. --- He brings her a glass of milk. The reality: it is to help her sleep. She perceives it as being poisoned. --- Beaky dies from drinking. The Reality: He was with others, who didn't know his problem with drink, and couldn't have dissuaded him to stop. She perceives it as a murder by Johnny, who knew this particular problem. --- Racing along the cliff in a car, he lunges at her. The reality: she was shrinking away from him, and he was reaching for her to pull her back in the car. She perceives it as Johnny trying to push her OUT of the car. These are just a few examples of incidents where something happens and Lina's mind interprets it into something else. Each thought reinforces her belief that he is a murderer, so each further incident falls even more strongly under that perception. I am quite sure Hitchcock, having no choice but to make him innocent, went in this direction, but few ever seem to mention it. People usually just complain about a 'Hollywood Ending'. This type of difference - psychological vs conventional - to me makes it much more interesting, There are times when outside forces, good or bad, can cause a change in the film that is positive. In Spielberg's 'Jaws' the troubles with the mechanical shark forced Spielberg to re-envision moments, and suggest the shark rather than outright show it, until later in the film. Most people know this and agree it greatly improves the film, making suspense, and building up the eventual entrance of the shark to one of the great moments in all of cinema: "I think you're gonna need a bigger boat." I must admit I never read the original book (Anthony Berkeley Cox's 'Before the Fact') either before or after seeing this film. The reason I posted this as a separate thread is because 'Suspicion' was not shown in any of the Daily Doses in the TCM/Ball State University film course '50 Years of Hitchcock', and I wanted to express my opinion on this matter and see if others agree, disagree, or haven't yet considered it.
I'm a big fan of the movie Charade. I love the witty writing, the cast and the Paris locations. I was recently in Paris and made a little Charade filming locations video. I hope you fellow Charade or Audrey/Cary grant fans enjoy it.
I'm kicking off my first Christmas special with "The Bishop's Wife." It's a great movie to get us all in the Christmas spirit! My review is a bit long, but this movie has so many interesting stories behind it! Did you think Cary Grant was better suited to play the angel or the bishop? Christmas movies all month! Get out the eggnog :3