Suspense in Black & White

I don’t know about you, but I love a good suspense movie.  Not a horror film, though sometimes I watch those.  No, I like a wonderful psychological or crime thriller that borders on a good mystery and that leaves you on the edge of your seat, not really knowing what will happen next.  And usually without a lot of violence.

Okay.  Maybe some violence.

And, of course, it should come as no surprise that I think the best suspense films/thrillers are in black and white instead of color.  What’s lurking in the shadows becomes more mysterious and therefore scarier.  A walk down the street seems more treacherous.  But even stories that take place in wide open spaces and bright sunshine can take on an atmosphere of danger with the talents in front of and behind the camera.

If you’re in the mood for some spine-tingling stories, check out the list below.

The Big Sleep (1946) -- Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
Cape Fear (1962) – Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen
Cry Danger (1951) – Dick Powell, Rhonda Fleming
Double Indemnity (1944) – Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
He Walked by Night (1948) – Richard Basehart, Scott Brady
High Noon (1952) – Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) – Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce
Key Largo (1948) – Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson
The Lady from Shanghai (1947) – Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963) – George C. Scott, Dana Wynter
The Lodger (1944) – Merle Oberon, George Sanders
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh
Mirage (1965) – Gregory Peck, Diane Baker, Walter Matthau
The Nanny (1965) – Bette Davis
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) – Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster
The Spiral Staircase (1945) – Dorothy Maguire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore
The Stranger (1946) – Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young
The Third Man (1949) – Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles

Of course, no list would be complete without special mention of the undisputed Master of Suspense -- Alfred Hitchcock.  Here’s a list of some of the best movies he directed – all in beautiful black and white.

Foreign Correspondent (1940) – Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall
The Lady Vanishes (1938) – Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave
Lifeboat (1944) – Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak, Hume Cronyn
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) – Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre
Notorious (1946) – Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains
Rebecca (1940) – Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson, George Sanders
Sabotage (1936) – Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka
Saboteur (1942) – Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane, Norman Lloyd
Shadow of a Doubt (1943) – Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten
Spellbound (1945) – Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Leo G. Carroll
Strangers on a Train (1951) – Robert Walker, Farley Granger, Ruth Roman
Suspicion (1941) – Joan Fontaine, Cary Grant
The 39 Steps (1935) – Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll


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