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Shadow Of A Doubt (1943)


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(...this one's much too easy...)

 

Yeah, I'd say the first clue about Uncle Charlie bein' a "bit off" was that first morning scene after he arrives into town, and where he asks his sister if she'd mind making him an Egg McGuffin for breakfast.

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*MissW wrote: Also, people are a lot more suspicious, and more aware, of, shall we say, aberrant behaviour, than folks were then. One reason why Hitch chose to set the story in a small community, with a "wholesome" family, is because their innocence in such matters would serve as a kind of blind for them. It simply does not occur to them that anyone living in their midst would be capable of murder, especially the kind which "Uncle Charlie" is guilty of.*

 

That's an excellent point, MissW. One of the charms of this small town family is that they seem to be a little, well, naive. They have only known a small town existence and the abberant behaviour most often associated with the big city just wouldn't be a part of their combined histories. Therefore, what may seem obvious to us about Uncle Charlie's strange behaviour they would probably be inclined to dismiss.

 

On the subject of Uncle Charlie, I've always regarded him as a bit of a tragic figure. Joseph Cotten shows us the disturbed psychosis, the "world is a filthy sty" mindset that he has which, in turn, has made him a psychopath without qualms about strangling an elderly woman.

 

Cotten, however, also shows us another side of Charlie. He shows us an effortless charm and grace and elegance in the character, as well. Yes, I know that Charlie uses those virtues now as a fascade by which he deceives others, including potential victims. However, I like to think those same graces also represent the man that he might have been if it wasn't for his mental illness.

 

I think Shadow of a Doubt is one of Hitchcock's best films, providing Joseph Cotten with one of the very best roles of his career. I often marvel at Cotten's work, particularly in the '40s. Not only could he play a smooth charmer such as in this film or Since You Went Away, but he was equally good at playing an ordinary everyman type who could be a little bit of a stumblebum (Journey Into Fear, The Third Man).

 

Joe Cotten was in a lot of good movies but somehow never seemed to get the full attention that his performances deserved. Shadow of a Doubt is one of the opportunities he had in which I suspect most viewers would acknowledge his marvelous effectiveness, with a smooth surface charm masking a cold icy interior.

 

Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt . . .

 

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!

 

Charming and elegant on the surface . . .

 

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!

 

But twisted and perverse inside, a man who sees the world as a filthy sty.

 

What a great performance, frightening and yet, to me, oddly sympathetic for the man he might have been!

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I really like Joseph Cotten's work in *Niagara* . He really is a sympathetic guy, but very troubled, and potentially very dangerous. His no good cheating wife (Marilyn) learns that the hard way. Even though he commits the crime and must pay for it I find myself rooting for him to somehow get away, and its rather sad to see him meet his fate. Cotten plays the part very well, I don't think anyone could have done it better.

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I agree, mrroberts, that Cotten is sympathetic in Niagara. But I thought the performance lacked the charm and elegance that helps to make his work in the Hitchcock film so memorable.

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In *Niagara* Joseph Cotton does show some of that charm when Jean Peters befriends him. I always wish that they could have ended up together, Cotton could have murdered her screwy husband (Casey Adams), that would have been fun to watch :D

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Well, I really don't wanna get into all this "OH so important" issue of "Who deserves 'credit' for the whole "Hitchcock/Egg McGuffin" joke thing here again, 'cause the LAST time I tried to get good ol' Fred to understand that the only reason he came up with that was because I implied that whole "McDonald's" thing previous to his in some old "Hitchcock" related thread it all got kinda UGLY 'cause it appeared he didn't feel like sharing "authorship credit" for this obvious joke, AND you KNOW how he just HATES to ever be corrected about anything! LOL

 

(...and I guess just ONE of the reasons the poor old guy has me on his Ignore function now!!!)

 

LOL

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Well, I will agree that Cotten had more charm than Casey Adams. Adams always had that canyon wide smile and the most obnoxious annoying laugh that I've ever heard, that went something like "YUCKYUCKYUCKYUCKYUCK!" Yuck is right!

 

Well, Adams does have one of the more memorable lines in Niagara. After Monroe shows up in a low cut red dress, Adams subtlely explodes, "SOMEONE GET OUT THE FIRE HOSE!"

 

Yuckyuckyuckyuckyuck!

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Cotten indeed plays a complicated character in *Shadow of a Doubt* . I really believe, especially at first, that he really does feel affection for his sister, that he does on some level enjoy the innocent family dynamic of the Newtons.

And there's no question that, at least until he realizes she suspects him, he also truly likes his young niece, if only because of the way she looks up to him.

His alarming speech about the women he meets who are "rich fat pigs, eating the money, drinking the money..." who deserve to die is the cue that should have maybe set the family thinking. The speech is so hateful and its language so extreme, it's kind of funny, in an awful way.

 

I'm surprised no one's mentioned the story Emma tells about how her little brother suffered a serious accident (bike, I think) when he was quite young, and how "he was never the same after that."

Of course, in real life this would be no explanation for Charles Newton's psychopathic behaviour. But I'm sure Hitchcock intends that speech as some kind of message to the viewers as to why he is the way he is.

(Although, going by that, I'd be a total nut case by now, having fallen off my bike numerous times when I was a kid, and also having experienced being hit by a car when I was about eight. Had to wear a cast on my leg for weeks...Ah, that must explain the axe murderer instincts I have to supress on occasion...)

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LOL

 

And all perfectly normal and natural human thoughts here, MissW.

 

EXCEPT of course if you also happen to have a picture of this lady hangin' on your wall...

 

liz3.jpg

 

...and each time you pass it you think to yourself: "Some day! SOME day!"

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Yes, MissW, I agree with you that Uncle Charlie is genuinely fond of both his sister and niece and happy, initially, to be visiting the family.

 

As much as I love watching Joseph Cotten in this film, one of my favourite scenes in it does not include him. That is the scene in which Teresa Wright, now suspicious of her uncle and desperate to know why he intentionally destroyed one page in a newspaper, goes to the town library to find that page.

 

When she finally finds the page the camera scans down it until, BAM!, we (through her eyes) see an article about the Merry Widow Murderer. What really makes this scene a memorable one for me is composer Dimitri Tiomkin's decision to play the Merry Widow Waltz off key as the camera dwells on the page.

 

Wright slowly and sadly rises from the table, and as she leaves the library Hitchcock pulls his camera back, reducing her in size to emphasize her emotional isolation at the moment.

 

Annex%2520-%2520Cotten,%2520Joseph%2520(

 

Behind the scenes

 

article-0-14CB3A57000005DC-938_964x647.jpg

 

This appears is be a multiple exposure of Alfred Hitchcock showing Teresa Wright how to effectively struggle on screen. Either that, or Wright had a heck of a rougher time working with the director than she ever let on.

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Charles tells his niece that 'she is the head of the family, anyone can see that' setting her apart from the rest. Charlie laments the daily routine and drugery of the families existence, apparently the only one who thinks outside said routine. I love this movie.

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I think it is all totally believable and since life actually imitates art, I would think a relative as charming as Charlie would be accepted into most families without a doubt, hence the title.

 

Speaking of trivial parts or actors or whatever, to me it is often the character actors in small, bit parts that make the film. As was once said "There are no small roles, just small actors" and all one must do to prove this is to watch a film like "Arthur" in which Sir John Gielgud steals the show as the butler from the star, Dudley Moore.

 

I've always admired the British actors as they are not so egotistical as many American stars and are more than willing to take a non-starring role, if it is a good one. I doubt seriously that Tom Cruise would consider playing a butler in a film to the star, unless of course it was maybe John Travolta. Egads, I can only hope no one picks that up as a possible film idea...

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LOL. Tom did play a supporting role in Magnolia, but that's the only time I can remember since becoming a star. Never caught the film, it was an ensemble piece, so his role was probably on the same level as most of the cast, just not a star part (if someone has seen it, they can correct me) And you are right about English actors. They will appear in supporting roles and indie productions for low salaries. You seldom see that with American actors.........

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I assume that in most cases when a 'star' (i.e. an actor that had lead billing in films), takes on a minor role the reason is that they are no longer being offered staring roles.

 

Aging actors and especially actresses take these roles because those are the only roles they are offered.

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I agree with you as it relates to British Films. I assume the reason is that many British actors have theater work but they can take on movie roles and theater parts at the same time. Is a primary reason travel?

 

e.g. that for a British actor both jobs would be in a similar location (London theater London studio) while for American actors it would be difficult to film in LA and be in a play on Broadway. Hey, just guessing here.

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