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Memo from George Schaefer (Jun/1941)

The following is a transcript of a memo date June 1941 from George Schaefer, head of production at RKO, to Hitchcock with his suggestion of a new ending for Suspicion (1941), as reproduced in "Hitchcock's Notebooks".



Nothing in the picture is to be changed until the final scene, where he brings her a glass of milk.

He brings the glass of milk just as shown now, puts it on the table, and says to her "I have brought you something. Go ahead and drink it." She looks at him with an earnest knowing expression and in a most solemn but devoted tone of voice says "Do you want me to drink this? If so, hand it to me yourself. Give it to me out of your own hands, because if you want me to drink it I will gladly drink it and forgive you." He looks startled and replies "So you know?" She answers "Yes, I Know."

He says at first incredulously and then later in self-abasement "You would drink this, knowing what is in it? You love me so much you would die for me, that I might accomplish my purpose? Without much qualm I was about to give you this drink. But low as I have sunk, to realise you would die for me in this way makes me know that I am not fit to live — that I should not live." With which he puts the glass to his lips and empties it, falling on the bed unconscious.

She in panic takes up the telephone, phones the woman detective writer and exclaims excitedly: "Johnny took what you told him about in a glass of milk a minute ago. He is unconscious. Is there anything I can do?" The writer replies: "Don't worry. I did not tell Johnny, and of course I would not, the real poison , but I wanted to see what he would do and I gave him a prescription that is a potion from which he will awake unharmed within a few hours. I did not even share with you the fact that I had not told him the real prescription, because knowing all of you, I wanted to bring this thing to a climix."

Lena hangs up the phone, notices beads of perspiration on Johnny’s head takes his head in her lap, wipes off the perspiration and with a beatific expression of hope, looks into the camera.