Saturday, January 17, 2015

Suspicion (1941)

WHO: Joan Fontaine is the only person ever to have won an Academy Award for performing in a picture directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She won the Best Actress award over Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Greer Garson and, most famously, her sister Olivia de Havilland.

WHAT: Hitchcock's third film made after moving to California from England was set entirely in England but used some shots of Northern California in its construction, although I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the actors never had to leave the studio, as every shot looks like it could have been completed using stand-ins, rear-projections and/or backdrops. I wrote a bit about the key scene in my Keyframe Daily write-up focusing on Noir City selections involving San Francisco and Monterey County settings:
In Suspicion, another Noir City 13 pick featuring Joan Fontaine, perilous Big Sur cliffs stood in for coastal England in the scene where Fontaine investigates a site where her deceitful husband (Cary Grant) has taken cheerful investor in a potential real-estate venture to inspect—or is it to be murdered?  No series of marriage-themed films could be complete without an example of Hitchcock, who returned to the subject repeatedly throughout his career
WHERE/WHEN: Screens 1:30 today only at the Castro Theatre, courtesy of the Noir City festival.

WHY: While all but three of the Noir City 13 selections (last night's Woman on the Run, tonight's The Suspect, and Wednesday's Crime of Passion) have never been screened before at the festival's San Francisco iterations, I believe that Suspicion is one of ten titles in the festival that go one further: they've never shown at Noir City events hosted in any city. I have a feeling that impresario Eddie Muller is just a hair more curious to see how Suspicion and the other nine films will play in front of an audience he's assembled than he is about some of the others which have screened at his events in Hollywood or elsewhere before. Those nine according to my (unverified) records: The Thin Man, After the Thin Man, The Set-Up, Clash By Night, The Sleeping Tiger, The Guilty, Les Diaboliques, Seconds and the Honeymoon Killers.

Today actually offers some tough choices for noir lovers, as there are no less than four films screening at the Castro, but also a 35mm print of Double Indemnity at Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive as part of its half-film, half-digital Billy Wilder series. (The next 35mm print in that series is The Lost Weekend January 30). And the Alfred Hitchcock series at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto is showing one of his most noir-ish of films (perhaps even moreso than Suspicion), Notorious. At least that one repeats tomorrow, so a true obsessive could theoretically attend the Sunday matinees of Douglas Sirk's Shockproof and Sleep, My Love and then head down the peninsula in time to see the 9:35 showing of Notorious (you might even be able to make it to To Catch a Thief at 7:30). Being carless, I'm not going to do that myself, but I am trying to figure out how to squeeze a viewing of one of the last few Hitchcock films I've never seen before, Young and Innocent, into next weekend without missing too many of the Noir City festivities. Public transportation schedules won't allow me to see that reputedly wonderful Hitchcock film without missing out on either Edward Dmytryk's The Hidden Room on Thursday, the new Film Noir Foundation restoration of The Guilty on Friday, Luchino Visconti's Ossessione AND either Cry Terror! or Les Diaboliques next Saturday, or else The Honeymoon Killers next Sunday. Of these, I've only seen Ossessione before. Right now I'm leaning towards skipping The Hidden Room but if anyone wants to speak up for it I'm all ears. Noting that there's at least one strongly marital-themed Hitchcock film playing at the Stanford almost every weekend of its eight-week series makes me wish the latter venue had waited just a couple weeks to start their series out of conflict with Noir City: 'Til Death Do Us Part.

HOW: According to the Film On Film Foundation website, every Noir City selection this year will be screened on 35mm prints except for Friday night's No Man Of Her Own. Suspicion screens on a double-bill with Ida Lupino's The Bigamist.

1 comment:

  1. Young and Innocent is quite fun. And if you've never seen Les Diaboliques, then time to catch that one as well. Currently, and very slowly, reading a newish book, International Noir, and currently reading about some of the French films in consideration.