Oppression, guilt, blackmail and murder in turn-of-the-century London's quiet Laburnum Terrace - the plot specifics of The Suspect inevitably evoke Hitchcock's world, even if the studio choice of noir specialist Siodmak as director suggests a more darkly labyrinthine atmosphere. As it turns out, the generic common denominator of psychological suspense proves stronger than the auteurist imprint, and if any individual has a right to 'sign' the film, it is Laughton in one of his most engaged and engaging roles, as a sympathetic wife-killer and victim of blackmail, whose fatal flaw is eventually revealed to be his sense of simple decency. Between the characters of Laughton, his shrewish wife (Ivan), innocent femme fatale (Raines), a suspicious detective (Ridges), and a wife-beating good-for-nothing neighbour (Daniell), are etched some intricate moral shadings; and some teasing reflections on manipulation emerge from within the narrative, echoing the virtuoso audience manipulation.
Cast and crew
Charles Laughton Ella Raines Henry Daniell Rosalind Ivan Stanley Ridges Dean Harens