(Sir) Alfred Hitchcock John Mosher - Essay

John Mosher

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"Suspicion" may just mean Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant to a big majority, but the select should be advised at once that it is also a screen version of Francis Iles' "Before the Fact." This eclectic minority may seethe at the treatment accorded one of the beautiful murder stories of the day…. As Mr. Hitchcock didn't rewrite the story, I suppose, but only directed what material was given him, he wouldn't seem much to be blamed.

Though there has been an insistent effort to make this novel of embezzlement and murder a cozy screen tale of domestic life in prewar England, with all the trouble really a notion in the wife's meandering mind and marital love a pretty boon abloom at the end, Mr. Hitchcock again and again manages to suggest the true Iles spirit and make of his smiling Cary Grant a plausible poisoner, a wavy-haired killer. For my part, I can't see that the wife who is so ready to believe the worst of her mate is such a lovely spirit. Just because her husband turns out to be bad about money, it doesn't mean he's a murderer, as any heiress knows.

The polish of the piece is a pleasure.

John Mosher, "Freshening Up Cary Grant," in The New Yorker (© 1941 by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.), Vol. XVII, No. 41, November 22, 1941, p. 98.