BORN TO BE BAD
1950, Warner Bros., 94 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Joan Fontaine looks sweet and innocent on the surface, but after she steals millionaire Zachary Scott away from another woman, she continues an illicit affair with novelist Robert Ryan. Things just get more complicated from there in this energetic, daring and slightly nasty little melodrama. One of Nicholas Ray's best early films, and certainly his most audacious until JOHNNY GUITAR. With Mel Ferrer - and the original deleted ending!


SUSPICION
1941, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s technique takes a huge leap forward with this extremely unsettling piece of "escapist" entertainment. Young wife Joan Fontaine suspects that husband Cary Grant is trying to kill her, and the question of whether she’s prescient or paranoid dominates the film. Throughout the movie Hitchcock toys with our assumptions, a conceit that works thanks to Grant’s astonishing performance (one of the best of his career). Without resorting to gimmicks or dishonesty, Grant convincingly plays the husband in a manner that makes both his guilt and his innocence equally valid possibilities, and Hitchcock adds to the overall sense of menace with subtle visual devices (he rarely shows Grant actually walking into a shot, for example - he always seems to magically appear like a ghost). The studio-imposed finale has divided Hitchcock fans on SUSPICION’s merits, but Grant’s consummate professionalism allows Hitch to pull off the last-minute reversal.


REBECCA
1940, Walt Disney Pictures, 130 min, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Director Alfred Hitchcock’s Gothic romance asks the question: Did guilt-ridden, rich widower Laurence Olivier do away with his notorious wife Rebecca or not? And what secret does sinister, manipulating housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) hold? As the widower’s second wife, a young Joan Fontaine attempts to unravel the mystery.


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