Alfred Hitchcock (1941)

A Certificate
Today 1:30pm - 3:05pm BBC Two


Our Score
In this marvellous Hitchcock thriller, timid Joan Fontaine is in mortal fear of being bumped off by her husband, amoral Cary Grant. Fontaine won the best actress Oscar for her pouting female-in-trouble portrayal, though some believe it was compensation for not winning the award for Rebecca the previous year. It all begins well enough, with Grant's bounder Johnnie Aysgarth a most unlikeable cad. But the film is hopelessly crippled by the censorship of the time, and is ultimately both predictable and implausible. Nevertheless, there's much to enjoy, not least a totally phoney Hollywood England (Hitch's lack of attention to the art direction is worse here than in Marnie, with poor studio "cliffs" and weak back projection). There's also sterling support work from British expatriates like Nigel Bruce and Cedric Hardwicke, and lovers of the book Before the Fact by Frances Iles might enjoy watching how Hitch decides to deviate from his source. But the two leads are undeniably in their prime, and reason alone to watch.


A woman swept off her feet by the attentions of a charming rogue agrees to marry him, despite the warnings of friends. However, his increasingly odd behaviour arouses her suspicions, and when his business partner dies in mysterious circumstances, she becomes convinced he has murder in mind. Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, with Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Nigel Bruce and Cedric Hardwicke.

Cast & Crew

Johnnie Aysgarth Cary Grant
Lina McLaidlaw Joan Fontaine
General McLaidlaw Cedric Hardwicke
Gordon Cochran "Beaky" Thwaite Nigel Bruce
Mrs McLaidlaw Dame May Whitty
Mrs Newsham Isabel Jeans
Ethel, the maid Heather Angel
Isobel Sedbusk Auriol Lee
Reggie Wetherby Reginald Sheffield
Captain George Melbeck Leo G Carroll
Director Alfred Hitchcock
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: R.K.O. Radio Pictures LtdAvailable on: video and DVD