Robert Siodmak

Sog.: dal racconto This Way Out (1939) di James Ronald. Scen.: Bertram Millhauser. F.: Paul Ivano. M.: Arthur Hilton. Scgf.: John Goodman, Martin Obzina. Mus.: Frank Skinner. Int.: Charles Laughton (Philip Marshall), Ella Raines (Mary Gray), Dean Harens (John Marshall), Stanley Ridges (ispettore Huxley), Henry Daniell (Gilbert Simmons), Rosalind Ivan (Cora Marshall), Molly Lamont (Edith Simmons), Raymond Severn (Merridew), Eve Amber (Sybil). Prod.: Islin Auster per Universal Pictures. DCP. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The Suspect was perhaps the Hollywood project Siodmak enjoyed the most. He recalled it later as “the best story I have told… it has happy memories for me, not least among them my friendship with Charles Laughton, an actor I admire tremendously.” It is also the film that most closely resembles his best early works with their subtle, bittersweet cynicism. Based on the infamous Crippen case, The Suspect borrowed many of its plot elements directly from it… But Siodmak also adapted much of the plot line he had used for Conflict in this story of an unhappy marriage in which a meek husband is driven to murder to be with his younger girlfriend. The Suspect is the story of a middle-class Briton, Philip Marshall (Laughton) a tobacconist, whose emotional restraint incites Cora, his vicious harpy of a wife (the wonderful Rosalind Ivan, complete with shrill Cockney voice) into ever-increasing levels of emotional cruelty…
Siodmak lets us in on the perpetrator of the crime early on, so that the focus   is not on who did it but on the reasons why. Siodmak himself felt that this was a crucial aspect to the success of the contemporary crime film: “People want to know what motivated these senseless killers. I find the bestway of approaching the crime film is to let your audience in on the secret”… Like Christmas Holiday and Phantom Lady, The Suspect is enriched by its wonderfully evocative atmosphere. The recreation of middle-class Edwardian England is very nearly perfect, from the tiny lettered sign in Philip’s shop window to the garish flowered wallpaper, cheap corner curio cabinet and drooping aspidistras in his modest home…
The Suspect, Siodmak’s most subtle film noir, is also one of his very best films, and one of the most ageless. Its elements of loneliness and isolation have resonance today… The Suspect was a financial success. It cemented Siodmak’s growing reputation as a director with   a talent for a particular type of thriller, one entirely character-driven. Such was the basis of the growing canon of film noir, and over the next several years Siodmak would prove himself a master of the genre.

Deborah Lazaroff Alpi, Robert Siodmak, McFarland, Jefferson 1998

Copy From

Courtesy of Park Circus. Restored in 4K in 2021 by Universal Pictures at NBCUniversal Studio Post laboratory, from the original 35mm nitrate negative and a 35mm fine grain nitrate composite