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directed by Frank Tuttle
USA 1946

Let other movie ice queens skate into happily-ever-after. Belita straps on her blades for the noir-on-ice thriller Suspense, a torrid tale of an ice-show star who commits adultery for the man she loves – and of the man who commits murder for her. Frank Tuttle (This Gun for Hire, The Glass Key) directs; Barry Sullivan co-stars. Belita’s career was exceptional, even by Hollywood standards. A 12-year-old sensation at the 1936 Winter Olympics, the British-born beauty made several films in the 1940s that showcased her dazzling skating skills. But her artistry was not limited to the rink. Also an accomplished ballerina, she worked with Gene Kelly in 1956’s Invitation to the Dance.


Suspense – with a storyline that's almost exactly like Gilda released a month before – was put together by the King Brothers after their huge success Dillinger with Laurence Tierney a year before. Monogram was one of the Poverty Row movie companies. Monogram films always looked cheap. Even good films like Decoy and The Guilty are a challenge to appreciate when many of the actors are unprofessional and the sets appear to be ready to fall down. Only Suspense would be different. The notoriously thrifty King Bros. threw a million into the project. They hired This Gun for Hire director Frank Tuttle to helm the project. The solid and unique sets were constructed - instead of reusing old ones. The legendary Karl Struss was brought on as the cinematographer and the writer of Dillinger – just nominated for an Oscar for the work – Philip Yordan worked on the script. Yordan (one of the great noir writers - penning many thrillers including The Harder They Fall and The Chase) was nominated again for an Oscar later in his career for the yawner Detective Story - but The Big Combo in 1955 would be his best noir work.
There's a lot to like in Suspense. In the past the film - despite being a box office success in its day - was only seen by noir collectors trading copies of the film or at film noir festivals. Now that it's available on DVD (through the Warner Bros. Archive) it will no doubt find a larger - and possibly cult- audience. Just don't expect it to be a top-shelf noir and you'll enjoy yourself. Suspense isn't suspenseful but the tale told on cold hard water is a fun watch.

Excerpt of review from Steve-O (Film Noir of the Week) located HERE


Theatrical Release: 15 June 1946 (USA)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1;41:09

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: September, 2009

Chapters 11





Monogram noirs, unfortunately, don't fare well on DVD and there were only 2 titles released so far as part of Warner Film Noir collections, Oscar-nominated Dillinger, reviewed HERE and cult-favorite Decoy (covered HERE). Hopefully, Warner Archive will fill in the void of Monogram noirs and their first such release is the film reviewed in here.

This transfer, while not perfect, is still very strong. There is a little damage and a few scenes are very grainy, but this is the best film looked on home video (while unavailable on authorized media, there were a few collectors copies floating around). The sound is also well represented, but once again, for Warner Archive title, the lack of English subtitles is disappointing. There are no extras, not even a trailer, but if you can get this title on sale, it's recommended to any noir fans.

 - Gregory Meshman


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Region 0 - NTSC



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