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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.

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Chris you are correct, making Gary Grant appear to be suspicious but not guilty makes a better film than stating the obvious as in the book. A non-leading or major suppporting actor like ray mailand or robert walker sacrifice little as villians.

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Yes, Chris. The first time I saw this film and heard Bergman running down how she figured out Leo was the real killer, I scratched my head. I’m sure Hitch is still turning in his grave over that. And I hope Selznick is doing the same. Now I’m interested in reading the book. I’m reading The Man in the High Castle after watching the series, and it’s an entirely different story. Its focus is on bigotry and anti-Semitism then the series.

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i hated the ending because the way the film was going, i just knew cary grant poisioned joan fontaine and BINKY!, There's no way Joan Fontaine would reconcile with Grant if she knew he poisoned her so either way the right ending was she left him or he poisoned her not that silly ending

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i hated the ending because the way the film was going, i just knew cary grant poisioned joan fontaine and BINKY!, There's no way Joan Fontaine would reconcile with Grant if she knew he poisoned her so either way the right ending was she left him or he poisoned her not that silly ending

 

Well I'm halfway between the OP and you;    I believe it works well that the husband isn't a murderer (since the basis of the film is the wife's suspicion)  but I still don't like the non-dark ending.   The husband was indeed a cad, a thief,  and dishonest.    So to me a better ending would be that while the authorities were investigating if he killed Binky they find out he stole from him.  Therefore he is attested for stealing and the ending makes it clear the wife will be leaving him.     

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I absolutely agree with you about the effectiveness of the ending of Suspicion. I think the fact that Cary Grant is irresponsible but ultimately innocent of any murderous motives makes for a more complex film, one that is more psychologically rich, and more unnerving and suspenseful than the proposed ending where Grant is trying to kill Fontaine.

 

My reading of the film is that Hitchcock is toying with the viewers expectations. We think we are watching the action unfold in the way typical of most Hollywood films, where the viewer follows what the camera captures and assumes that the story is being presented in a strictly objective way. But in Suspicion I think we are watching the action from Lina's point of view, in other words from a very subjective POV. And we assume that Lina is the more mature, stable character in the film. But we then begin to see just how unstable she is as she interprets every event to be an indication of Johnny's criminal nature.

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I absolutely agree with you about the effectiveness of the ending of Suspicion. I think the fact that Cary Grant is irresponsible but ultimately innocent of any murderous motives makes for a more complex film, one that is more psychologically rich, and more unnerving and suspenseful than the proposed ending where Grant is trying to kill Contains.

 

My reading of the film is that Hitchcock is toying with the viewers expectations. We think we are watching the action unfold in the way typical of most Hollywood film, where the viewer follows what the camera captures and assumes that the story is being presented in a strictly objective way. But in Suspicion I think we are watching the action from Line's point of view, in other words from a very subjective PIC. And we assume that Line is the more mature, stable character in the film. But we then begin to see just how unstable she is as she interprets every event to be an indication of Johnnys criminal nature.

 

Well said;   Her suspicion becomes paranoia.     But Johnny still has a criminal nature (he stole from his employer \ cousin) and I don't see him changing since that is the core of his character (I.e. when he needs money again, which he will since he doesn't like to work,  he will result to stealing \ scamming someone again).  Therefore I wanted him to get some type of comeuppance.  

 

As for 'but Cary can't end up being a bad guy';  I don't see it as that black and white (good guy versus bad guy).

 

Note that in Mr. Lucky he isn't a good guy but the film ends with him having to make a huge sacrifice by going to war.   This is how we know he has reformed and why the gal would be want to be with him.      

 

In Suspicion all he has to do is make a U-turn (and only a literal one!).

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i hated the ending because the way the film was going, i just knew cary grant poisioned joan fontaine and BINKY!, There's no way Joan Fontaine would reconcile with Grant if she knew he poisoned her so either way the right ending was she left him or he poisoned her not that silly ending

But he DIDN'T poison Binky. And he didn't poison her. Therefor there is no reason why she wouldn't reconcile with Grant. That was my point. If he HAD really killed Binky, it would be different. But he DIDN'T.

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Well I'm halfway between the OP and you;    I believe it works well that the husband isn't a murderer (since the basis of the film is the wife's suspicion)  but I still don't like the non-dark ending.   The husband was indeed a cad, a thief,  and dishonest.    So to me a better ending would be that while the authorities were investigating if he killed Binky they find out he stole from him.  Therefore he is attested for stealing and the ending makes it clear the wife will be leaving him.     

Actually, the ending is dark in the sense it is implied, whether she stays with him or not, he is probably going to jail for embezzling the money from that job he had. So he is a thief, and will go to jail.

 

That her wife sticks with him is only right, because, even in the original novel where he poisoned her, she loved him so much that she just drank it anyway. So if in the book she was willing to drink poison and be murdered because of her love for Johnny, it is to be expected that she should stick with him even if he goes to jail for embezzlement. So in that sense the movie makes sense.

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But he DIDN'T poison Binky. And he didn't poison her. Therefor there is no reason why she wouldn't reconcile with Grant. That was my point. If he HAD really killed Binky, it would be different. But he DIDN'T.

 

No reason why she wouldn't reconcile?    To me the constant lies,  laziness,   gambling,   and the embezzling of funds from his cousin (Leo Carroll),   would be enough to seek a divorce.    

 

Hey,,,,  but I'm not a killer,,,,  doesn't make for a very good resume.    ;)

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We think we are watching the action unfold in the way typical of most Hollywood films, where the viewer follows what the camera captures and assumes that the story is being presented in a strictly objective way. But in Suspicion I think we are watching the action from Lina's point of view, i

Yes. That is what I liked about the movie version. In Kurosawa's 'Rashamon', an event - the murder of a man and rape of his wife - is told in different versions by different observers. Each perceives the reality in their own way. In one version the thief is heroic and the duel dashing. In once version both men are cowardly. In another version the wife 'enjoyed' the rape and wanted to leave with the thief, etc. Each version was different because each person perceived reality in a different way.

 

So Lina percieves her husband and the actions a certain way, but is it the reality? In that way 'Suspicion' is similar to 'Rashamon' (or vice versa.)

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No reason why she wouldn't reconcile?    To me the constant lies,  laziness,   gambling,   and the embezzling of funds from his cousin (Leo Carroll),   would be enough to seek a divorce.    But hey,  I'm not a killer:  doesn't make for a very good resume.    ;)

Yes, but in the book, she love Johnny so much that she willingly drinks the poison and lets herself be murdered. So if, in the book she was willing to drink poison and die for Johnny, it is understandable if she would reconcile with him even if he were a thief and a liar, which is bad but not quite so bad as murder., :)

 

(I love film discussions :D)

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Yes, but in the book, she love Johnny so much that she willingly drinks the poison and lets herself be murdered. So if, in the book she was willing to drink poison and die for Johnny, it is understandable if she would reconcile with him even if he were a thief and a liar, which is bad but not quite so bad as murder., :)

 

(I love film discussions :D)

 

Valid point as it relates to the ending still being mostly faithful to the book with regards to how much she loved Johnny.

 

But maybe you didn't see my end-user tagline above the picture of Cagney:     There is nothing as bad as something not so bad!   (this is from the Scarlet Pimpernel as stated by Leslie Howard to Nigel Bruce). 

 

I think you can see how that relates to the character of our beloved and charming Johnny.      (and funny that the line was said in that other film to Binky!).

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