1946’s “Suspense” is, without a doubt, one of the weirdest classic-era Hollywood films ever made. It attempted to blend the appeal of tough-as-nails post-war film noir thrillers with, yes, ice skating.
An Olympic skater for her native England at age 12, Belita “the Ice Maiden” (not sure how long that moniker lasted) had been best known in the movie world as a competitor to Norwegian Sonja Henie, the hugely well-paid skating star of a series of successful light musical comedies for Fox. Working with “Poverty Row” studio Monogram, Belita understandably wanted to get out from Henie’s shadow and become more of a dramatic actress. “Suspense” must have seemed like a natural transition: a fairly lavish crime drama with an ice-show setting…a noirish one. Here, Belita skates — suspensefully — as Barry Sullivan and the great Eugene Pallette look on.