|The movie is set in early 20th-century London, but notice how Ella Raines is|
dressed in 1940s glamor in this lobby card art.
Marshall is a respectable accountant and well-liked by all who know him. When a young stenographer named Mary Gray (Ella Raines) comes to him looking for a job, Marshall is smitten with her. They begin a chaste affair, but this is film noir so nothing ends well, right?
|Ella Raines (in period costume) with camera assistants Robert Lazlo and Frank Heisler and cinematographer Paul Ivano on the set of The Suspect|
Robert Siodmak (1900 – 1973) had a very successful career in Hollywood and is best known for his thrillers and films noir. He signed a seven-year contract with Universal and directed The Killers (1946), the film that made Ava Gardner a star. He worked with some of the top movie stars during Hollywood’s Golden Age, including Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, Dorothy McGuire, Yvonne de Carlo, Olivia de Havilland, and Barbara Stanwyck. Often compared to Hitchcock in his prime, he never got the recognition that the Master of Suspense did, but most of his films hold up remarkably well and are worth watching.
Ella Raines (1920 – 1988) was born in Washington State where she studied drama at the University of Washington. Howard Hawks spotted her in a college production and signed her to a contract. Right out of the gate, she starred in some big movies, including Preston Sturges’s Hail the Conquering Hero and Tall in the Saddle (both 1944) where she shared equal billing with John Wayne. As her movie career declined in the 1950s, Raines worked in series television starring as Janet Dean, Registered Nurse (1954-55). She appeared on the cover of Life magazine twice, once in 1944 and in 1947.
Join us on Zoom April 14 for a discussion of The Suspect at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Click here for details on how to participate. It’s free!
Some questions for discussion.
1. From what you know about film noir, do you think this film fits that category? Why or why not?
2. Does The Suspect have a femme fatale? If it does, who is she?
3. What is the first crime committed in the film?
4. Was the London setting believable to you? Was it important? Could it have worked set in America during the same time period?
5. What about the ending? Was it what you expected?
*Original blog post said that Ella Raines was discovered by Howard Hughes. This is incorrect, it was Howard Hawks.