Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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I was watching Screen Junkies the other day and the panel was answering questions from the audience.  One of the questions led Dan Murrell to answer Shadow of a Doubt, a film by Alfred Hitchcock.  I had never heard of that movie before and Dan spoke about how much he liked it and gave a quick synopsis.  I have been building up my Hitchcock list this past year so I scribbled the title down.

Now that I am on the precipice of the 2018/19 New Year’s Eve/Day Binge-a-Thon, I figured I would kick it off with this film.

On of the writers on Shadow of a Doubt was famous Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Thornton Wilder, most well known for the play, Our Town.  It turns out that Alfred Hitchcock himself in several interviews named Shadow of a Doubt as his favorite movie that he had made.  I can certainly see why.

The film looked at life in a small town with a group of characters that seem to come directly from it.  Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) never truly fit in the scene, but it was an effective hiding place for the man running from his past actions.  His namesake, Charlie (Teresa Wright) was sweet and innocent and looked up to her uncle like few others. Because of the closeness of the pair, Charlie discovered what Uncle Charlie was attempting to hide, changing her perspective on him.

Hitchcock is a master of anxiety and suspense and Shadow of a Doubt is never lacking as you are always unsure what exactly Uncle Charlie is planning or intending to do.  I have to say, I kept expecting some kind of twist that he wasn’t actually Uncle Charlie.  I picked up on some dialogue that sounded as if that was being foreshadowed.  However, it turned out that I was incorrect on that.

There were solid performances, including by Joseph Cotten who was typically an actor seen in the positive roles and the protagonists instead of the antagonists.  He is intimidating with his secrecy and his glances.

Shadow of a Doubt was another great Hitchcock film that I am glad was recommended by Dan Murrell.  It had the feel and look of a classic.


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