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Shadow Of A Doubt (1943)

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Teresa Wright .... Young Charlie

Joseph Cotten .... Uncle Charlie

Macdonald Carey .... Det. Jack Graham

Henry Travers .... Joseph Newton

Patricia Collinge .... Emma Newton

Hume Cronyn .... Herbie Hawkins


This film is one of Hitchcock's best and also his personal favorite. The film is set in the idyllic, small town (at that time) of Santa Rosa, California. Hitch goes out of his way to give you the look and feel of an "Our Town" type of atmosphere. A town that calls back to simpler and safer times. The lead character, Charlie Newton, is played by Teresa Wright. Charlie is a typical young teenager who thinks her life is dull and boring and she lives in a town that is dull and boring and nothing ever happens there. And she's right! At least until her namesake uncle Charlie comes to town to stay with her family.


At first the family, and especially young Charlie, are ecstatic to have Uncle Charlie, played by Joseph Cotton, staying with them. However, as the story develops young Charlie begins to discover that her uncle is not all he pretends to be. At first she is in denial but eventually there are two many questions and she gets too nosy. A relationship develops with young Charlie and a detective who is investigating the murder of three widow women, of which Charlie is their suspect.


Joseph Cotton does a superb job as uncle Charlie. On one hand he is a likable type person but underneath is this sinister secret as to his true nature being covered up. Brilliant really! How Cotton can make you feel and understand both sides of Uncle Charlie.


Teresa Wright is young, beautiful and the girl next door type. innocent and sweet in many ways. Hitchcock shows us just how innocent when Uncle Charlie takes her into a smoky, dirty bar for a drink and before she enters with him she resists saying that she had "never been in such a place before".


I have to say I really love this film more with each viewing and believe it should be seen by every person that loves classic film. It's definitely a movie that you won't soon forget once you have seen it! I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars



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I love this movie, too. I agree that it seems to get better upon each viewing. When I first watched it, I was so caught up in what was happening that I almost forgot that I was watching a movie! When young Charlie is beginning to discover that her Uncle Charlie may be the Merry Widow Murderer, she goes to the library to look up some newspaper articles. I was watching the movie at home in the evening and I looked at the clock in my living room and shouted out, "oh no, it's 9 o'clock! the library's closed!"


Of course, it wasn't 9 o'clock in the MOVIE and Charlie does go to the library. I still chuckle over how engrossed in the movie I was that I shouted at my tv set!


Sandy K

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That's hilarious Sandy! I know what you mean though.


I found myself feeling so sorry for her in that bar scene but even more sorry for her friend who came to wait on them. She seemed so depressed that that was the only type of work she could find.


Hitchcock really did a good job manipulating my feelings through the whole film.



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I agree that the poor waitress couldn't be any sadder. I think the game about the perfect murder between Travers and Cronyn must have been especially fun for Hitchcock. Two guys talking about murder like they were cars or sports all the while with their houseguest being there. A little ironic fun. Great film. Great performances.

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Yes, I loved the murder discussions between Travers and Cronyn! Very funny. And there was a murderer right there in their midst and they didn't know it. That is why SHADOW OF A DOUBT is so great--the murderer isn't some weirdo or recluse--it's a seemingly normal, everyday person who has a family that loves him. That is what made it scary for me--it made me think that any one of us could be a murderer.


Sandy K

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  • 3 years later...

I hope nobody will mind my bringing up this old thread, because even though it hasn't been active for nearly two years it may still provide some interesting points to add to the discussion of "Shadow of a Doubt" that is currently ongoing in the Noir Gallery.


Kirk, I think you have made a very good point of Joseph Cotten's brilliant acting allowing us to feel and understand both sides of Charlie. It isn't as though he has kept some of his darker thoughts completely hidden from the Newtons, as in that rather chilling dinnertime speech of his in which he speaks his mind about the "lazy rich widows" or something.


I'm also glad to see several people here thought the movie improves with repeat viewings, as this is one Hitchcock movie I had not seen in a long time but hope to watch again a few more times in the near future, if time allows. The best classics are the ones that seem to get better the more times you watch them.


And I also totally agree with the "murder talk" between Travers and Cronyn, I am sure Hitchcock must have relished those scenes and would himself have liked to take part in their conversations if he'd been able to write himself into the movie.

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  • 4 weeks later...

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> If it is him, this is unusual. He normally makes it so he is easy to recognize.


I think when you're looking at the scene, it's not hard to tell it's him, even if you don't see his face. It's just the shape of the man, I guess.


Plus I just confirmed it's him in the trivia section of the imdb.com entry:


*Director Cameo: Alfred Hitchcock on the train to Santa Rosa playing cards. He has the entire suit of spades in his hand, including the symbolic ace.*

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  • 7 months later...

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