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Contemplating a "Suspicion" remake


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It's been a few years since I've watched *Suspicion* (1941), but after viewing it again last night on TCM, I have to say what a great film I think it is...well, that IS until, as we all pretty much know, and as Hitchcock himself was often said to have lamented, the final scene/"Hollywood ending" of it.

 

And so, with this in mind...IF there could be a remake of this film made with the ending being more like the downbeat one imagined in the Francis Iles' book "Before the Fact" of which *Suspicion* is primarily based, which actors and actresses working today would you cast in the lead and in a few of the supporting roles? And, who would you think might do justice to Hitch as the director of such a thing, but who hopefully would make it more their own production.

 

Okay! Who's first with any suggestions here.

 

(...oh, and please none of that "Nobody today could carry Joan or Cary's boots" kinda stuff here, okay?!)

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George Clooney as the Cary Grant character and Laura Linney as the Joan character ( Linney has something of that same slightly tentative look that Joan Fontaine had - like she's not altogether sure about some things. Also smart, and pretty but in a delicate, not-too-obvious way...)

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When the topic of remakes come up (and mostly by the 'I hate them all types), I use Suspicion as an example of where a remake could improve upon the original, as it relates to the ending.

 

Keep the first half light and romantic like the original but as we start to see the true character of Johnny, make the second half darker than the original. Either have Johnny killed by his wife for being the bad egg is was or have him kill her off and end with him finding a new dame to milk.

 

If the screenplay is tight and with solid direction there are many actors that could play the parts.

 

 

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I think this is one of the most common plots of women's movies and made for TV movies of the 1980s and '90s.

 

I see these films listed every week on two or three women's channels.

 

Woman thinks her husband is trying to kill her.

 

Woman discovers her husband is trying to kill her.

 

Woman discovers her husband's secretary is trying to kill her.

 

Even one where her daughter was trying to kill her to get to be alone with pop.

 

Woman who thinks her roommate is trying to kill her.

 

Woman who thinks her new husband might have killed his previous wife.

 

Etc., etc.

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I have a strong Suspicion that any remake of a classic-era classic is gonna have an unhappy ending, whichever actual ending is used (especially when the plot has since been reworked, revamped, redone in many permutations, as Fred mentioned).

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Why do you believe any remake would have an unhappy ending? Also if an ending is more faithful to the original source (e.g. book), how is that a bad thing? The book Suspicion was based on was written decades ago. Why didn't it have a happy ending if happy endings where the 'thing' back in the day (since it appears you are implying some type of social change has taken place with regards to endings).

 

But Fred is right. I forgot that the Lifetime network has run TV movies of the week with the theme Fred mentions many, many times. That network clearly favors plots where the lead man is a complete and total cad and the lead women is a dummy or fool (sometimes a little but mostly a lot) that falls for him, but at the end wises up and takes revenge. This story isn't new. Gaslight is a similar story.

 

 

 

 

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Ah, but THAT'S just the point here, Arturo. Even the director Hitchcock had misgivings about his creation, and thus one might say his own opinion was less than "beloved" for it.

 

And btw folks, R.O. mentioned after the showing of the film that in the book written *in the 1930s*, Johnnie(the Grant character in the movie) DOES attempt to kill Lina(the Fontaine chartacter in the movie) by poisoning her, but because Lina had recently discovered she was pregnant by Johnnie and had come to realize what a lowlife he actually was, AND because she didn't want to bring a kid into the world who'd have a father like Johnnie, AND though she knew the drink was poisoned, she drank the poison willingly anyway, BUT not before writing a letter to the authorities telling who had poisoned her, which in a final ironic twist, Johnnie mails off after she dies.

 

(...sorry for the run-on sentence there, folks!) ;)

 

 

In other words, ANYBODY who has ever watched the old TV program Alfred Hitchcock Presents KNOWS that that's exactly how Hitch would've wanted to end the thing IF the producers hasn't pressured him to make good ol' Cary Grant "look not so bad". And then, even Hitch would have probably had more "beloved" feelings for this film.

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So what are we supposed to do, like or dislike this movie??

 

Order us and we will obey.

 

Whatever you say goes.

 

We will follow your command, Oh Master.

 

I think you should stand out on the sidewalk in front of your local theater and tell everyone going into the movie house what they should think about the movie they are about to see.

 

LOL, I can just see you outside a theater where Suspicion is showing, and there you are shouting and thumping a copy of the novel and waving it in the air. :D

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I have to agree with Arturo. Any remake of a well loved classic, no matter HOW good it is, invariably gets compared to the original, and the original usually wins. I've seen remakes of many old movies that got muddled in the attempt to "update" it. DOA is a prime example.

 

The ending of the original Suspicion didn't dissatisfy me. What did was Grant's reaction to the whole thing. If my wife suspected I was trying to kill her when I actually wasn't, I'd be **** no end. Grant seemed to laugh the whole thing off with a "You silly little THING you!" attitude. In fact, his entire perfromance made me think HE invented the "phone it in" approach to acting.

Sepiatone

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Apparently, the Hitchcock technique in this film was to make the audience think that Grant was trying to kill his wife, and then at the end he surprised the audience by having Grant say he actually was considering killing himself because he realized he was such a bum and a bad husband. Thus, a suspenseful movie with a surprise happy ending.

 

Thank Zeus we are not all required to read the novels before watching movies, and we are free to watch movies and judge the movie on the movie itself and nothing else, without someone else, or the government, giving us instructions about how we should look upon the movie.

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Well Fred, once again, even Hitchcock called the ending a "cop-out", and I'll bet if we took a poll of movie buffs around here, I'll bet a majority of the folks around here would agree with Hitch's own view of this ending to the picture.

 

I mean, this particular film's ending has become known as the "King" of all "cop-out" "Hollywood endings", ya know?!

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}So what are we supposed to do, like or dislike this movie??

>

> Order us and we will obey.

>

>

> Whatever you say goes.

>

>

> We will follow your command, Oh Master.

>

>

> I think you should stand out on the sidewalk in front of your local theater and tell everyone going into the movie house what they should think about the movie they are about to see.

>

>

> LOL, I can just see you outside a theater where Suspicion is showing, and there you are shouting and thumping a copy of the novel and waving it in the air. :D

>

Look "dearest" Fred! First, from the very top here and when I started this thread, I said I thought it was a great movie, didn't I??? Well, except for the pat "Hollywood ending".

 

Secondly, what's with YOUR attitude here, BRO??? What's with all the "Oh Master" crap, huh?! All I've been saying here is that I think, LIKE HITCH HIMSELF, this whole film's dark and brooding leadup to it's present ending doesn't "jive", that's all! And, that MAYBE a darker ending to a possible re-make of this film might be an interesting idea, THAT'S all!

 

(...so, settle down, dude...keep it above the belt here, OKAY?!)

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>Well Fred, once again, even Hitchcock called the ending a "cop-out",

 

Ok, well let's just burn the film, ok?

 

What you need to do is learn to accept the fact that while you might not like a particular movie, other people might like it.

 

And while other people might not like a particular movie, you might like it.

 

You do not need to "prove" that your opinion is the only "correct" one.

 

In art, it is ok for different people to have different opinions about the same work of art.

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Fred, Fred, Fred. Come on now. What's with all this "either/or" thinking here. You and I are old enough to know that life isn't this way! What's with all this "Ok, well let's just burn the film, ok?" kinda talk, huh?!

 

Look...ONCE AGAIN...the WHOLE premise of this thread WASN'T to either "love" this film, or "hate" this film, but WAS in fact an exercize in the POSSIBILY of a re-make which MIGHT make for a more satisifying ending to a very intriguing storyline, AND if such a thing would be possible, WHO would people cast in such a thing today.

 

(...man ol' buddy, you think I'M "hardheaded"...you oughta look in mirror sometime, bro!)

 

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The ending as written in the book sounds a lot more interesting, but I can understand why the studio and maybe even Grant himself wouldn't want such a dark ending. But that ending is a lot more true to all the events in the plot that had taken place. Of course, as you know, a lot of movies end up with happy endings (or less dark ones), that appear to come out of nowhere. This a function of the Hollywood dream machine. What I like about most noirs is that they don't do that but Suspicion was made before WWII.

 

 

 

 

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> {quote:title=jamesjazzguitar wrote:}{quote}...This a function of the Hollywood dream machine. What I like about most noirs is that they don't do that but Suspicion was made before WWII.

Ya know james, I was thinkin' this exact same thing yesterday. Right after WWII, and when Noir became especially popular with moviegoers, it did seem to become more acceptable to end films in less of an upbeat manner.

 

Yep, it's kinda like if say *Out of the Past* might have been made before WWII, I wonder if Jeff Bailey, the Mitchum character, might've have ended up living the bucolic life in that little town of Bridgeport along foothills of the Sierras, instead of the fate which befell him in 1947?! ;)

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>The ending as written in the book sounds a lot more interesting, but I can understand why the studio and maybe even Grant himself wouldn't want such a dark ending. But that ending is a lot more true to all the events in the plot that had taken place.

 

How about if Robert Mitchum had played the husband? Then I could accept a dark ending to the film. But Grant never seemed dark to me. Lovable, funny, and romantic, but not dark. As a matter of fact, I don't think he should have been the husband in this movie. :)

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Well Hitchcock liked to use Grant as a cad and did so years later in Notorious. Grant treated Bergman like crap in that movie but at the end he does save her and admit he was a fool. Hitchcock liked playing with the emotions of women who just couldn't accept that someone as good looking and charming as him could be a cad.

 

In this way Grant is perfect in the first half of Suspicion. While he is pushy and arrogant his charm and looks over come this and Joan falls hard for him. In this first half we only see a little of his bad side (selling the chairs his father in-law gave as wedding gifts, etc...) and Grant can pull that off.

 

But in the second half Grant doesn't really pull off the role of a major cad. i.e. someone that might kill his friend for money or his wife. Here someone like Mitchum would of been better.

 

I do agree with you that Mitchum would of been a better fit for both types of Johnnie's personality than Grant. While Mitchum doesn't have the charm and looks of Grant (who does!) he has enough to pull that part off and when it comes to menace Mitchum is way more suited.

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I doubt that at the time the film was made the studio would have let Hitchcock use a downbeat ending- specially with Grant playing the husband-(killer?) Now imagine a remake in the 1950's with James Mason in the lead and then that would be a different story. The film was sort of remade as "Masquerade" (1988) with Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly starring in a very similar plot.

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*Ah, but THAT'S just the point here, Arturo. Even the director Hitchcock had misgivings about his creation, and thus one might say his own opinion was less than "beloved" for it.*

 

 

 

Well MY point is that, so Hitch felt the ending unsatisfactory due to compromise, doesn't mean I think that it should be remade. If it's not perfect 100% of the time, I'll happily settle for the 95%. It works well enough, and I like almost everything about it. Why would I wish to see a new version, even with an ending true to the novel?! Not at all, seeing as I don't care for remakes of classics.

 

 

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>Ah, but THAT'S just the point here, Arturo. Even the director Hitchcock had misgivings about his creation, and thus one might say his own opinion was less than "beloved" for it.

 

Nobody cares.

 

We go to movie, we watch movie, we either like or dislike movie. We don't need to ask someone else (not Hitchcock or you) what we SHOULD think about the movie.

 

We have our OWN opinions about each movie we see.

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