Director: Alfred Hitchcock Cast: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, May Whitty, Isabel Jeans, Heather Angel, Auriol Lee, Reginald Sheffield, Leo G. Carroll, Faith Brook
Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Joan Fontaine)
Also Nominated For: Best Picture; Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
I First Saw In: 2015
Synopsis: A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.
Did You Know? The film was adapted from the novel Before the Fact by Anthony Berkeley. After Joan Fontaine read the novel, she loved the role of Lina so much that she wrote a letter to Alfred Hitchcock offering to play the part for free, if necessary.
And now a Word from the Guise:
I really hate that the success of films, TV shows, and books are so reliant on audience reception. I mean, I get it, they’re made for the audience, but it’s just so frustrating that artists have to tailor their work for audience approval. In the original ending of the film, Alfred Hitchcock had Johnnie (Cary Grant) murder Lina (Joan Fontaine) by poisoning her milk. But early audience screenings criticised the ending, because they just couldn’t accept Cary Grant as a murderer. But the film would have been much stronger with the original ending. But instead it made Lina look like an uptight, paranoid person grasping at straws.
But while the cinematic ending may not have painted Cary Grant as a murderer, it still painting him as a would-be rapist, though I’m sure none of the audience then – or even most audiences today – would have ever perceived it that way. “You’re the first girl I’ve met who said yes when she meant yes.” This is actually one of his lines in the film, and I’m sure it was met with lighthearted jest back in the 1940’s. To me, however, it meant that he has undoubtedly forced himself onto women in the past. So he might not be a murderer, but he’s certainly no better.
Oscar Madness Ranking – ??? out of 233