AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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The Suspect
Director: Robert Siodmak (Dir)
Release Date:   26 Jan 1945
Premiere Information:   World premiere in San Francisco: 22 Dec 1944
Production Date:   14 Sep--mid-Oct 1944
Duration (in mins):   85
Duration (in feet):   7,653
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Cast:   Charles Laughton (Philip [Marshall])  
    Ella Raines (Mary [Gray])  
    Dean Harens (John [Marshall])  
    Stanley C. Ridges ([Inspector] Huxley)  
    Henry Daniell (Mr. [Gilbert] Simmons)  
    Rosalind Ivan (Cora [Marshall])  
    Molly Lamont (Mrs. [Edith] Simmons)  
    Raymond Severn (Merridow)  
    Eve Amber (Sybil)  
    Maude Eburne (Mrs. Packer)  
    Clifford Brooke (Mr. Packer)  
    Keith Hitchcock (Crummit)  
    Ernie Adams (Cabbie)  
    Jimmy Aubrey (Pogson)  
    Helena Grant (Miss Pomfret)  
    Lillian Bronson (Miss Crevy)  
    John Rogers (Mrs. Margett)  
    Cecil Weston (Mrs. Chadwick)  
    Charles Knight (Mr. Chadwick)  
    Hilda Plowright (Mrs. Margett)  
    Sally Shepherd (Mrs. Brown)  
    Elspeth Dudgeon (Pauline Barlow)  
    Kate MacKenna (Mrs. Jevne)  
    Olaf Hytten (Mr. Jevne)  
    Vera Lewis (Hannah Barlow)  
    Grace Hampton (Waitress)  
    Sydney Lawford (Lord Eldon)  
    Gerald Hamer (Griswold)  
    Johnny Berkes (Detective)  
    Frank Dawson (Jarvis)  
    Edgar Norton (Frazer)  
    Katherine York (Model)  
    Rebel Randall (Model)  
    Keith Ferguson (Model)  
    Barbara Gray (Model)  
    Sheila Robert (Model)  
    Charles McNaughton (Waiter)  
    Tony Santoro (Waiter)  
    Nina Campana (Cashier)  
    Tommy Cook (Child violinist)  

Summary: In 1903, kindly London tobacconist Philip Marshall lives on Laburnum Street with his adult son John and his shrewish wife Cora. Unable to stand his mother anymore, John moves out and Philip takes this opportunity to move into his son's old room. Later, Philip takes pity on Mary Gray, a young, out-of-work stenographer, and invites her out to dinner and finds her a job as a dress shop model. The two soon begin seeing each other regularly, although she is unaware that he is married. Returning home late one evening, Philip finds his bedroom door locked, forcing him to confront Cora and ask for a divorce. She refuses and threatens to ruin his good name if he leaves her. Philip then confesses all to Mary and ends their relationship. That Christmas, Cora tells her husband that she knows all about Mary, and even though Philip tells her that he is no longer seeing the young woman, Cora informs him that she still intends to have Mary fired from her job and evicted from her boardinghouse. Seeing no other alternative, Philip kills Cora. Although the coroner rules Cora's death an accident, Inspector Huxley of Scotland Yard begins an investigation of the case and correctly deduces that Cora was struck in the back of her head by a cane, and did not receive the wound by accidentally tripping down a flight of stairs, as previously assumed. With no incriminating evidence against Philip, Huxley looks for a motive and soon finds one when the tobacconist begins seeing Mary again. Huxley's investigation is stymied, however, when Philip and Mary wed, and, under English law, she cannot be forced to testify against her husband. Philip and Mary's marital bliss is later disrupted when Gilbert Simmons, their snobbish neighbor, informs Philip of his intention to falsely testify against him unless he is paid for his silence. Realizing that Gilbert will blackmail him into bankruptcy, Philip kills him by placing an overdose of Bayard's Anodyne in his whiskey. With two murders haunting him, Philip then convinces Mary to move to Canada, where they can join John, who has a new job there. She agrees, but just as the couple is boarding the ship to North America, Philip is informed by Huxley that Gilbert's body has been found and his abused wife Edith has been charged with his murder. Unwilling to let another suffer for his crimes, Philip gets off the ship and slowly heads toward Scotland Yard to turn himself in. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Robert Siodmak (Dir)
  William Tummel (Asst dir)
Producer: Howard Benedict (Exec prod)
  Islin Auster (Prod)
Writer: Bertram Millhauser (Scr)
  Arthur T. Horman (Adpt)
Photography: Paul Ivano (Dir of photog)
  William Dodds (2d cam)
Art Direction: John B. Goodman (Art dir)
  Martin Obzina (Art dir)
Film Editor: Arthur Hilton (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Russell A. Gausman (Set dec)
  E. R. Robinson (Set dec)
Costumes: Vera West (Gowns)
Music: Frank Skinner (Mus score and dir)
Sound: Bernard B. Brown (Dir of sd)
  Charles Carroll ([Sd] tech)
  Ronald K. Pierce (Re-rec and eff mixer)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel This Way Out by James Ronald (Philadelphia and New York, 1939).
Authors: James Ronald

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 4/1/1945 dd/mm/yyyy LP13116

PCA NO: 10564
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Melodrama
Sub-Genre: Suspense
 
Subjects (Major): Infidelity
  Love
  Marriage
  Murder
  Shrews
  Tobacconists
 
Subjects (Minor): Blackmail
  Chinese restaurants
  Christmas
  Docks
  Drugging
  Drunkenness
  Fathers and sons
  Fog
  Funerals
  Hansom cabs
  London (England)
  Messengers
  Models
  Mothers and sons
  Parks
  Police inspectors
  Poverty
  Scotland Yard (London, England)
  Stenographers

Note: The film begins with the following written foreword: "It was an unpretentious street, but it had a pretentious name. That was the fashion in London of 1902. They called it Laburnum Terrace." HR news items and production charts include Emily Massey in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add the following crew credits: Cam asst Robert Laylo and Frank Heisler. On 9 Apr 1945, Charles Laughton, Ella Raines and Rosalind Ivan reprised their screen roles in a radio version of The Suspect for the Lux Radio Theatre

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   30 Dec 1944.   
Daily Variety   22 Dec 44   p. 3.
Film Daily   22 Dec 44   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Sep 44   p. 1, 17
Hollywood Reporter   13 Oct 44   p. 8, 15
Hollywood Reporter   19 Dec 44   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Dec 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Feb 45   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   4 Nov 44   p. 2166.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   30 Dec 44   p. 2249.
New York Times   1 Feb 45   p. 18.
Variety   27 Dec 44   p. 9.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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