Shadow of A Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)

In this quest to view and review all the films mentioned in the book 1000 Movies You Must See Before You Die, there is a nice little club hosted by my good friend Squish over at Filmsquish, you can participate if you are interested or to just browse through the reviewed titles. This exercise made me discover some lesser known pictures and other films I wouldn't have been interested at the first time but I pushed myself into the viewing and the sometimes it had been very rewarding. However, since I've been working on many classic films list since around 2001-2002, lots of titles are second to multiple watches for me. Other titles hold the status of being personal favourites. Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt isn't less than a masterpiece and a personal favourite from Hitch's great filmography.

When traveler uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) comes to town (Anytown, USA) the Young Charlie (Teresa Wright) is more than excited, because she wants to know more about his voyages and the real life that he lives. However, since she is not a dumb girl, she discovers that uncle Charlie's has a dark past.

The story evolves around the duality (recurring Hitchcock theme) of the name Charlie and the opposites between both character. As if uncle Charlie is the bad side and Young Charlie is the good side. One example is the shoot when uncle Charlie's train arrives there's a giant black smoke that encaptures the locomotive as if the train came from hell. Cotten delivers a very subtle performance that helps Hitchcock's tension building around the principle of the criminal in the house with young Charlie and the fact that she discovers her uncle's secrets.

The technique and the mise en scène are the most important aspects of the film to notice when watching Shadow of a Doubt. It is also Hitch's creativity that pushes the boundaries of film making at this time and the brilliant cast that gives a more than notable ensemble performance.


  1. Great review. You had some observations that I had not considered.

    I think this is one of the somewhat overlooked Hitchcock movies and that that is too bad. Some of the attention for Vertigo should be redirected towards this movie.

    1. Thank you Chip!

      It is a film I really love. And funny as it may sound it was very well considered like 40 years ago but the glow of Psycho, Vertigo and North by Northwest put "shadow" (sorry this one was too easy) over Shadow of A Doubt and Hitch's 1940's era. From that era I highly consider Notorious to be one of the best films he ever directed...
      I still think that Rear Window is the greatest Hitchcock ever...

    2. I completely agree with you on Rear Window.

  2. Thanks for the plug! You shouldn't have. I absolutely love that poster.

    1. My pleasure! I love vintage posters! Trying to find an original poster is always one of the parts of posting a new review that I enjoy the most.


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