Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine
Joan Fontaine won the Oscar for Best Actress for this film.
A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.
IMDb rating: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%
Genevieve’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
👍 PROS: As usual, Hitchcock does not disappoint in his ability to tell a story. His play on light and dark both visually with lighting and through character development leaves this viewer satisfied. Grant is Hitchcock’s perfect leading man: charming, underlying darkness, funny and handsome. Not to mention British as he is. Joan Fontaine, in the same way, embodies his version of the perfect woman. Cool, calm collected blonde. And again, British. The scene where Lina and Johnnie host the macabre dinner party with the local murder mystery author, her female companion dressed in man’s clothes and the coroner is perfect is showing Hitchcock’s use of food as a vehicle to discuss death or sex. His humor is also apparent in how he wants to make murder such a normal conversation. Another moment that did not disappoint was the brief shot of Johnnie bringing the glowing, ominous glass of milk up the stairs. The lighting, mixed with the reprisal of the waltz repeated throughout the movie is all gorgeous. The bars of shadow falling on the ground feels to me to symbolize Hitchcock’s own deep seeded fear of jail and police officers.
👎 CONS: Since RKO forced Hitchcock to alter the story last minute so that Grant would not be a villain leaves for a somewhat “throw away” ending on first viewing. But upon repeat, with all the information it is the only conclusion that you could make. It turns into a character study of a paranoid woman, where the only reality we are shown is her own skewed reality.
In conclusion, if you haven’t seen this movie, you should do so. Joan Fontaine’s performance in it alone should be reason to watch it, but it is a gorgeous example of many of Hitchcock’s methods of story telling. He was the master for a reason after all.