Above Suspicion (1943)

Above Suspicion (1943)
 Run Time: 90 min. | b/w

Director:  Richard Thorpe

Stars: Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, Conrad Veidt, Basil Rathbone

Genres: Drama | Thriller

Storyline
One the eve’ of World War II, a newly-married couple honeymooning in Paris aid the British Secret Service. A fast-moving chase melodrama, and Joan is more than a match for the Nazis.

4 Comments

  1. IMDBReviewer

    August 9, 2016 at 8:53 am

    If you like the kind of spy-romance yarns spun out by Hollywood in the 1940s–the kind with tongue-in-cheek dialogue that lets you know you’re not supposed to take any of it too seriously–you’ll enjoy this amusing, yet suspenseful film in which Conrad Veidt plays a "nice guy" for a change. Honeymooners Joan Crawford and Fred MacMurray are asked by British intelligence to do some spying while on their European jaunt. The agreeable pair go along with a plan that has them on the trail of an agent and in and out of dangerous situations as they are pursued by Basil Rathbone, chilling as usual as a Nazi.

    Good entertainment with some amusing dialogue and light-hearted performances by Joan and Fred that indicate they should have been teamed more than once. As it is, this is Joan Crawford’s last film at Metro after seventeen years with the studio and comes just two years before "Mildred Pierce" at Warners. Good cast and fine production values make it an absorbing treat.

  2. IMDBReviewer

    August 9, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Those wonderful movies of the past. The film's setting is in the days prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. Although it would have been highly unlikely that British Intelligence would have asked two non-Britishers and non-professionals to do a bit of spying for them which could turn very dangerous for them and give the whole thing away plus creating an international scandal (the World War had not yet started), yet it is always interesting to see how it would have developed. Good slick direction by Mr. Thorpe, excellent acting by Mr. McMurray and specially by Miss Crawford, excellent set design which does not forget the overcoats needed on the Brenner Pass between Austria (in the Film the country is called Southern Germany) and Itally (which did not get into the War until 1940). Good to see two decent people doing the right thing for the right cause endangering their own lives to get away from the Nazi and back to safety. Good work and fun to watch and don't forget the inimitable Mr. Veidt. He should have been in Hollywood a decade earlier.

    Barzin Samimi

    Tehran, Iran

  3. IMDBReviewer

    August 9, 2016 at 8:53 am

    "Above Suspicion(1943)" was the last film Joan Crawford made under her Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract. Crawford had strictly made films for the studio since 1925. She left,because she was dissatisfied with the mundane scripts she was offered.Looking at this film,we can see her point.Here’s an espionage thriller that has a great premise and a good cast,but falters midway through.The plot is basically about honeymooners(Crawford and Fred MacMurray)being ask to do spy work in Nazi Germany. They must get information about a secret German mine.Along the way,they encounter colorful characters that lead them to clues.They even witness an assassination of a German leader in an opera house.The first 45 minutes is extremely suspenseful and Crawford and MacMurray have great chemistry together.However,the rest of the film is less than plausible and the ending leaves much to be desired.The problem,though,is with the director,Richard Thorpe.Not one of MGM’s best directors,Thrope puts too many unnecessary scenes in the film,that distract from the plot.In addition,he wastes the talent of some great character actors,putting them in one-dimensional roles.Basil Rathbone was great at playing sinister roles.Here he plays a conniving Nazi,but has very little to do.The major miscasting was letting Conrad Veidt play a charming spy.Veidt was marvelous at playing an acid-tongued Nazi officer,most notably in the classic,"Casablanca(1943)." In other hands like Alfred Hitchcock or Fritz Lang,this film could have been first-rate.Crawford wouldn’t have a hit movie until "Mildred Pierce(1945)",where she gave perhaps the best performance of her career as a self-sacrificing mother. As it is, the film isn’t a bomb,but there are much better spy thrillers out there.I give it 2 1/2 stars out of four.

  4. IMDBReviewer

    August 9, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Above Suspicion (1943)

    An odd movie even for its time, being clearly anti-Nazi and a bit of an American adventure on behalf of the British, but set in the months before the war began, earlier 1939. Yet it was made and was released in the thick of the war, four years later, well after even the Americans were involved. It must have seemed a bit lightweight at the time, and it certainly is a bit breezy now, too.

    Joan Crawford is at her best when life is going wrong, when the screws are applied or when she has to be a tough and independent women. Here she plays a cheerful and rather carefree newlywed. What Crawford character is truly carefree? Well, in this case her husband is perfectly cast, because Fred MacMurray knows what carefree is better than anything. When the Nazi threat becomes violent, things turn out rather okay, at least at first. The only other actor of note is the Nazi figure, played by the guy who plays Sherlock in all those B-Movie Sherlock Holmes films, Basil Rathbone, and you can't quite make him out as the evil menace he needs to be.

    Of course, our leading odd couple has been chosen for this mission by some knowing British officials who see the American innocence as a perfect cover for what is actually pretty dangerous stuff. And the movie, despite all these essential weaknesses, is really fun and a bit dramatic and very well made. Yes, it's a good movie, if far from a great one in either importance or effect.

    The director, Richard Thorpe, is one of the step-in-when-needed guys with a bunch of B-movies under his belt, and an assortment of mediocre oddballs (a Tarzan movie, the last Thin Man, a Presley movie–Jailhouse Rock–some Westerns, and so on). It might be a miracle this is as workable as it is. The script is fair, but the mood and the setting is terrific. And really, as mismatched as they seem, Crawford and MacMurray are not half bad together. They certainly are trying very hard.

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