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Hers was a strange love!
In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's wife who threatens him with exposure and scandal, driving him to kill her. Thereafter, fortune seems to smile on Philip Marshall; but does fate have a surprise in store?
Interesting Siodmak period noir featuring Charles Laughton as a rather unlikely Winter to Ella Raines Spring, the whole thing playing out like an Edwardian Columbo episode, with Stanley Ridges as the dogged police detective.
Despite a mix of alcoholism, depression, divorce, wife-beating, blackmail, poisoning, violent death, and London fog, it's a fairly flat brew compared to Siodmak's The Spiral Staircase from the following year. But the period setting, Laughton's mere presence, and Henry Daniell's turn as a wife-beating alcoholic blackmailer make this worthwhile for fans of gothic/ period noir.
As much as I dig the fact that the poster proclaims the film unsuitable for general exhibition, 'The Suspect' is, of course, not at all disturbing by today's standards (unless we're talking about how difficult a divorce was to obtain in the 40s). I wish more people would check it out - along with the rest of Siodmak's filmography - for it really is quite the neat little thriller. Tight and well-acted.
Charles Laughton has one of his best roles, as a mousey shopkeeper who understandably murders his harridan wife, in Robert Siodmak's 1944 gothic comedy. Not Hitchcock, but not bad.
An understated Laughton makes for a touching portrait of a reserved, moral man who's nagging wife slowly chips away at his mild mannered contentment torn. Between his wife and another. Raines turns in a smart revision of the "other woman" character as she plays her as a sweet, caring woman with an earnest sense of hard work and a strong moral consciousness. Laughton and Raines's moral characters are played against the vile, pettiness of Laughton's wife and blackmailing neighbor to complicate the traditional noir setup, engendering our sympathy for Laughton, not his victims or the detective, this turns the film into more of a domestic drama with a stark moral study at its core and a slight tinge of Hitchcockian suspense.
Yet another fantastic performance from the wonderful Charles Laughton who carries this movie on his own from start to finish. A period thriller/noir, this story of a fine honourable man who becomes a wife killer is carried through in such a way that you are always on the side of the killer. Laughton's superb acting is effortless and the movie has a fine supporting cast including Ella Raines who plays her part with credit. Director Robert Siodmak went on to make a number of other great movies including The Spiral Staircase, The Killers and Criss Cross. Highly Recommended.
Edwardian noir & just fantastically done!
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ya gotta love Laughton.
Desperation can drive anyone to madness - that age old battle - told here with mannerly aplomb, blending character study and noir. Likewise, Laughton reels in his thundering persona, giving a quieter performance that's totally terrific, though nagging wives aren't treated as politely. In that sense, Siodmak's famous lighting schemes envision something more dastardly than a sympathetic whodunit, but that's a minor gripe. You also get the impression that if this was made today, the snitching neighbor would be the richer party using his means to snuff out undesirables.
Director Robert Siodmak is batting 1000 in my book. This film, which features one of Charles Laughton's better performances, really deserves a proper restoration and release. Thank you YouTube. Reviewed on flickersintime.com
A Noir like movie which I liked very much. I don't know if director Siodmak is trying to get a point across and what that point would be in that case but it's a sweet touch to make most people in the film into mean and unsympathetic characters except the murderer and the woman he fall in love with. Another sweet move is to place Laughton in the lead as he usually appears in pretty unsympathetic roles.
Charles Laughton is superb in this very clever film, The screenplay is first class. the performances are great and Siodmak's direction sublime. Highly recommended!
Missing films I can't locate on Letterboxd:
Blonde Ambition (1981)
I Like to Watch / Caballero (1982)
Mona the Virgin…
Bill Georgaris of TSPDT has finally decided to start updating his film noir page. This means the old version of…