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"And goodbye to Metro after eighteen years." ~Joan Crawford's comment after she made "Above Suspicion."


"Above Suspicion" 1943

Cast: Joan Crawford~Fred MacMurray~Conrad Veidt~Basil Rathbone~Reginald Owen~Cecil Cunningham~Richard Ainley~Ann Shoemaker~Sara Haden~Felix Bressart~Bruce lestor~Johanna Hoper~Lotta Palfi~Alex Papana.

Director: Richard Thorpe

Costumes by Irene & Gile Steele

Box Office Figures for "Above Suspicion":

Cost: $N/A ~ Domestic Studio Gross: $ N/A. ~ Foreign Studio Gross: $ N/A
Total: $ N/A / Profit: $ N/A

If you have seen this movie, please write a review below. Once your review is submitted, I will post the review below. Thank you for your review on this film.

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How many stars would you give this film? Four being the best.
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Reviewer, Simon Davis, says...

"Above Suspicion", for me is one of the most enjoyable of Joan Crawford's late MGM releases and indeed is her farewell performance from MGM, the studio she would always regard sentimentally as "home" the rest of her life. Often criticised as war time propaganda I feel this was a timely film and is far from being the last whimper in Joan's 18 year association with the studio. Released in 1943, its wartime theme and inclusion of Nazi's up to no good, was really in tune with what wartime audiences were wanting to see on screen with America now fully involved in the war overseas. Despite Joan's general unhappiness with the direction her career was taking at this time ( having been bypassed for the lead in "Random Harvest", in favour of new MGM "Golden Girl", Greer Garson being a particular disappointment), "Above Suspicion", is definitely another example of Joan Crawford cleverly adjusting herself to the changing tastes of movie goers as was also seen in her previous much maligned effort "Reunion in France". War focused themes where understandingly big box office at this time and Joan Crawford, the ultimate career strategist, very clearly latched onto this trend and adjusted her film role choices accordingly. Present day critics have often complained about the film's improbable plot and amazingly by the fact that the story too blatantly makes the Nazi's out as the ultimate bad guys, well as history shows us only too tragically the Nazi's WERE the bad guys and while it does have a story that is highly improbable "Above Suspicion", it is still very enjoyable and indeed gripping at times.

Joan Crawford was teamed with Fred MacMurray for the only time in "Above Suspicion", and I feel they make a surprisingly compatible team on screen as Frances and Richard Myles, two newlywed Americans who are about to depart on their honeymoon when they are approached by a mysterious representative of the British Secret Service to undertake a secret mission within Nazi Germany for the precise reason that as two innocent tourists they are "above suspicion". Their task is to secure through a series of contacts the valuable plans to a new secret weapon of the Nazi's, a magnetic mine. Their travels take them from Paris all the way to Salzburg where they find themselves in more danger than they anticipated when they excepted the assignment. In Austria they run across sinister aristocrat Count Sig von Aschenhausen (Basil Rathbone in another fine performance) who although an old Oxford collegue of Richard's, now has a new strange quality to him and arouses their suspicions by trailing them and watching their every move. With the help of Austrian agent Count Hassert Seidel (Conrad Veidt) the couple make contact with a Doctor Mespelbrunn (Reginald Owen) where they obtain the information they require and then attempt to flee over the border seperately in disguise. Frances is unfortunately captured by the Nazi's and tortured in a remote Castle where Richard and a group of British Agents manage with great difficulty to rescue her and safely cross the border into Switzerland.

Despite the cries of it being wartime propaganda I feel "Above Suspicion", gave home audiences a sample of what was happening in Europe at the time however unreal the setting here. Certainly the idea of conscripting civilians for such dangerous missions as this is an absurd one but in the light of the terrors of war the film does convey a message of what ordinary people were actually doing under the very noses of the Nazi's in the occupied areas. Joan Crawford delivers a very believable performance under the circumstances, of a young bride who is caught up in the adventure of "being spies" to use her characters words. The rapport between her and MacMurray is very amiable and believable and they handle the numerous twists and turns in the convoluted story very well. With each viewing of this film I feel more strongly that Fred MacMurray was indeed one of Joan's better leading men in her last years at MGM and it was a shame the pair never worked together again. One year off his career changing triumph in the classic "Double Indemnity", Fred MacMurray was largely know at this time for his jovial comedy performances opposite top actresses like Claudette Colbert and Carole Lombard, here he acquits himself very well in the drama department opposite Joan and some of their best scenes together are when they are interacting as a newly wed married couple obviously very much in love. Joan has a delightful softness and playful element to her character in many scenes and MGM were certainly not stinting on the grooming and outfitting of their departing Queen as her costumes and hairstyles are most becoming. The famous Red Rose Hat worn by Joan in many scenes still exists and achieved a record price when sold on Ebay a few years back which testifies to people's unending fascination with anything worn by Joan on screen. Ably assisted by acting veterans Basil Rathbone, (superb as always), Conrad Veidt and Reginald Owen the actors all make something very gripping and enjoyable out of at first glance quite unpromising material. The film at roughly 90 minutes adapts a brisk pace and the story never flags for a minute especially when Joan and Fred find themselves becoming ever more deeply ensnared in the Nazi web. Backed up by an expensive MGM production the general Germanic feel of the story is well captured despite the impossibility of MGM using any real German locations at this time.

"Above Suspicion", of course is chiefly remembered as marking Joan Crawford's farewell from MGM where she had been a star since the late 1920's. She moved on the next year to a new contract at Warner Brothers, a vastly different studio to MGM both in attitude and product. Joan of course went on to score an Oscar for her work in "Mildred Pierce" which marked the beginning of the next triumphant stage in her legendary career. While "Above Suspicion", is certainly not in the same league as "Mildred Pierce", or some of Joan's other Warner Bros efforts it is still a respectable film in it's own right and is far from being a forgettable last film by a supposedly "fading", actress on her way out of the Studio Gates. Take a look at a vital and highly appealing Joan Crawford teamed perfectly with a first rate Fred MacMurray in her farewell MGM appearance. Not only is it a significant part of MGM history viewing Joan's last role on her home lot, it's also an enjoyable hour and a half viewing experience. Highly recommended!!

4 Stars


Reviewer, Brandt_Tim, says...

This is one of those over-looked Crawford films. It is a tightly paced, timely (for the early 40's) Spy thriller. The notion of using amateurs as spies has been used countless times. And it's not the concoction of a hollywood screenwriter; it's based an actual novel. 

Here for the first time we see Joan in the 40's look that will carry her through the early part of the war years. The supporting cast is superb, including Basil Rathbone and Conrad Veidt as one of the vilest Nazis (you think). The film has comedy, the scene with Fred MacMurray answering the "Heil Hitler greeting by calling the soldier a dope...etc. 

This film isn't shown very often as it's viewed as nostalgic propaganda but, if you have the chance make the time to see it!!!!!!!

3 Stars

Reviewer: babyc225

Stars: 5 stars

Review: I really love this movie. It's my favorite Joan Crawford movie ever. I'm really glad I have this on video. I think it's really crafty when they have to find little clues to work this riddle out.