EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|SUSPECT, THE (director: Robert Siodmak; screenwriters: Bertram Millhauser/Arthur T. Horman/from the novel This Way Out by James Ronald; cinematographer: Paul Ivano; editor: Arthur Hilton; music: Frank Skinner; cast: Charles Laughton (Philip Marshall), Ella Raines (Mary Gray), Dean Harens (John Marshall), Molly Lamont (Edith Simmons), Henry Daniell (Gilbert Simmons), Stanley C. Ridges (Insp. Huxley), Rosalind Ivan (Cora Marshall), Raymond Severn (Merridew), Maude Eburne (Mrs. Packer), Clifford Brooke (Mrs. Packer), Eve Amber (Sybil Packer); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Islin Auster; Universal; 1944)|
studio-bound minor film noir."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Robert Siodmak ("The Spiral Staircase"/"The Killers"/"The
on Thelma Jordon")
competently directs this theatrical studio-bound minor film noir, and
keeps it more as a character study then as a whodunit. It builds on
suspense, but never becomes that exciting or interesting. But it's
well-acted, though the dreary story is never totally convincing or
compelling. It's adapted from James Ronald's novel This
Way Out and is written by Bertram
Millhauser and Arthur T.
The film is set in 1902, on Laburnum
Terrace in London. The good-hearted middle-aged
Marshall (Charles Laughton) is a manager
of a tobacco shop and lives with his adult son John (Dean
Harens) and his
shrewish wife Cora (Rosalind Ivan), whom he's trapped living
in a longtime bad marriage. To get away from his unbearable nagging
mother, John flees to Canada. Philip then moves into John's room,
Gray (Ella Raines) asks Philip for a job, and even though
he can't use her in his place he takes a liking to her and uses his
influence to get her work in another place. While not telling Mary he's
a married man, the two start dating and grow fond of one another. When
Philip asks for a divorce, he's refused and told that she knows about
his fling with Mary and Cora further threatens to expose Mary as an
amoral woman hoping to get her fired and evicted from her
boardinghouse. a desperate Philip then trips her with his walking stick
so she takes a spill down the stairs and then bashes her head in with
his walking stick. It's ruled an accident, but Inspector
Huxley of Scotland Yard keeps the case open and in his investigation
lets on that Philip is a suspect as a murderer. Soon Philip marries
Mary, and finds married life blissful and convenient
– the police
cannot use Mary as a witness against her husband.
inspector meets with Philip's idler drunkard neighbor Gilbert Simmons
(Henry Daniell), a wife
abuser, and reveals to him that he suspects Philip killed his wife
(which seems like an unethical thing for the copper to do). Gilbert, armed
with this knowledge, then blackmails Philip, threatening to be a false
witness to the murder unless paid off weekly. Philip thereby offers him
a bottle of liquor that he poisoned with Bayard's
Anodyne and dumps his body in the nearby canal.
talks his wife into relocating with him to Canada. As they board the
ship to sail, Inspector Huxley is aboard and greets
Philip with the news that they just fished Gilbert's body out of the
water and offers a cooked-up story that the
police are ready to charge his sweet wife Edith (Molly Lamont) with the
crime. Philip can't bare to see the innocent woman suffer for his crime
and gets off the ship to turn himself in to the inspector (probably
more how crimes end in books rather than in real-life).
REVIEWED ON 1/24/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ