Though Laughton's classic roles were past him by 1944, in THE SUSPECT the esteemed actor proved once more why his talents were highly respected in the film community. It is Victorian London at the turn of the century. Laughton is an amiable shopkeeper married to Ivan, a mean-spirited woman
who constantly is complaining about something. After meeting Raines, a stenographer, Laughton falls in love and decides to kill his shrewish wife. He beats Ivan to death with a cane, then manages to convince the authorities that she died after severely injuring herself in a staircase fall. With
Ivan out of the way, Laughton is free to marry the beautiful young stenographer. Ridges is a police detective who finds Laughton's story a bit shady, as does Daniell, Laughton's neighbor. Daniell decides to blackmail Laughton, but soon the meddling neighbor comes to an untimely end of his own.
Ridges pushes on with his investigation and Laughton eventually succumbs to the pressure, confessing to both murders. Siodmak, who had been a successful German director until forced to flee by the growing power of Nazi rule, develops his story well, creating a double-edged morality within his
story. Laughton is initially presented as a kind and caring man. His crimes are heinous, but because the character is shown in such a sympathetic light, the questions of right and wrong become ambiguous. Laughton is excellent in the compassionate portrait of a man caught up in a nightmare of his
own making. The story is loosely based on the case of Dr. Crippen, a London surgeon who, in an infamous case that shocked society, murdered his wife, then cut her body into small pieces before disposing of it.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Though Laughton's classic roles were past him by 1944, in THE SUSPECT the esteemed actor proved once more why his talents were highly respected in the film community. It is Victorian London at the turn of the century. Laughton is an amiable shopkeeper marr… (more)