"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.
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!!
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
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!!!!!!!
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.