Sunday, January 13, 2008

We don’t Suspect a thing - Suspicion

Alfred Hitchcock is known as the master of suspense. This title has been earned from his numerous films outlining murders, the macabre and mystery. Of course he also directed a film named "Suspicion" staring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine.

There is an interesting combination of things that makes this movie live up to it's title. Cary Grant is perfectly cast. He had already been playing the suave playboy for a number of films. So when you see him in this movie, you are immediately drawn into his charming and somewhat roguish qualities - just like Joan Fontaine is. As the movie progresses you begin to suspect that Grant may not be all that he appears. The casting is a masterstroke because the audience already likes Grant before he even shows up on the screen. In addition Grant plays the part with an expert balance of charm and darkness. You are kept off base the entire film, not knowing for certain if he is lovable or just plain evil.

To play off of him, and to draw in the audience is Joan Fontaine. She is the naive woman, who keeps seeing just enough to keep her suspicious but not enough to condemn her husband. Her innocence makes her a likable character but also allows the audience to feel superior to her - we know what's really going on... don't we?

In addition to the characters Hitchcock uses excellent light and shadows, and clever black and white photography to keep the suspense going. If you haven't had a chance to see the film, check it out and see just what techniques Hitchcock uses.

What movies, books or television series have you seen that execute suspense perfectly... or what have you experienced that tried hard, but never seemed to pull it off?

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