My Thoughts on… Shadow of a Doubt

Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, it may be best to move on!

Well now. It’s been a long time since I watched this film. In all the excitement of watching all the Hitchcock films in time to meet my deadline, the actual writing of the posts seemed to slip my mind!

Synopsis

A young woman discovers her visiting “Uncle Charlie” may not be the man he seems to be. (via IMDb)

What I Liked

  • I hadn’t ever really heard of this film. It doesn’t seem to be as famous as some of his others, such as Rear Window and Psycho, yet it is considered to be amongst his very best films, and it is even believed to be Hitchcock’s own favourite. And with very good reason, because Shadow of a Doubt is wonderful. It has all the trademark Hitchcock tension, all set against the backdrop of small town America.
  • The performances in the film are great. Having never seen Citizen Kane or The Third Man, I am not overly familiar with Joseph Cotton, but I understand he is playing against type here as Charlie, the murderer. His performance is great; he goes from jovial uncle to creepy criminal in the blink of an eye, and it’s fantastic.
  • Teresa Wright also puts in a fantastic performance as the other Charlie, the niece of Joseph Cotton’s character. Young Charlie is enamoured with her uncle, and feels a deep connection with him. It is this connection, perhaps, that leads her to the realisation that he is in fact a murderer. The range of emotions that she goes through is wonderfully portrayed by the young actress.
  • As I previously mentioned (and as I always mention with Hitchcock films), the tension builds up fantastically throughout the film, as Young Charlie cottons on to what her uncle is up to, and he realises that she knows. It all builds up to a tremendous climax where I honestly didn’t know which way it was going to go.
  • A small thing, admittedly, but a huge family favourite film in my house is By the Light of the Silvery Moon. There’s an actress in that film who plays a clerk in a telegraph office, and she pops up here too, playing a clerk in a telegraph office. I wonder if she felt typecast at all!

What I Didn’t Like

  • Predictably, there was nothing I didn’t like about this film. It has jumped into my top five Hitchcock films, for sure!

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