Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Suspect

1944, US, directed by Robert Siodmak

Siodmak had quite the run of films in 1944, from Cobra Woman to Christmas Holiday, and this little gem seems to have been largely overlooked as the years have ticked by. Set in Hollywood's version of London in 1902, it's not quite as tight an affair as Christmas Holiday or Lang's Scarlet Street (which also features Rosalind Ivan as an extraordinarily shrewish wife), with the tone wobbling from time to time between bleak noir and romance. Siodmak is on stronger ground with the darker material, and makes atmospheric use of the London cobblestones on more than one occasion. The supporting cast as about as authentically Cockney as I am myself, but Charles Laughton is doughily effective as a man whose plans spiral well beyond his control, and there's a delicious supporting turn from Henry Daniell as the rotter next door.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States