Shadow of a Doubt Reviews
Filmed in beautiful black and white with some great lighting and camera work, this is a top notch psychological suspense thriller filled with great mood and wonderfully established tension and suspense that keeps rising and rising until a fine and thrilling climax. Hitchcock gives his usual masterful direction, and Dimitri Tiomkin provides an excellent musical score.
The real highlight though, are the performances, especially the two show stopping ones from Joseph Cotten as Uncle Charlie, and Teresa Wright as Young Charlie. They have some wonderful tense cat and mouse moments with one another, and it is just a joy to watch Wright as she tries to unravel the mystery, and an even bigger delight to watch Cotten shift from sly, playful, and charming one minute to creepy, suspicious, and menacing the next.
This is a real gem and a wonderful picture. My only real gripe are the performances from the two little kids. They're annoying, loud, and obnoxious. On the plus side though, the little girl reminded me a lot of young Abigail Breslin (young as in her early roles). You should really give this a watch. It's some great stuff.
UPDATE -- This film seems to be growing on me. I think Joseph Cotten's performance as the seemingly endearing but actually creepy uncle is what keeps me coming back.
"Shadow" is not a murder-mystery, but is a granddaddy of the psychological thriller genre. The murders have happened and there's no doubt as to who committed them - celebrated favorite uncle and brother Charlie. When he comes to visit none is more excited to see him than his admiring niece "Charlie" who's fawning and admiring begins to melt away as she begins to suspect her uncle of horrific crimes.
Hitchcock is less interested in catching the killer and more interested in exploring the reaction and actions of a loved one when they discover a dark secret. And as the stakes get higher, the actions get even more dire.
Academy Award winner Teresa Wright (for Mrs Miniver) is luminous and Orson Welles mainstay Joseph Cotten is perfect.
There's no doubt why "Shadow" was one of Hitchcock's favorites.
Charlie (Teresa Wright) is thrilled when her adored uncle (Joseph Cotten) comes to visit her family and shake her out of the malaise and monotony that she's been feeling. But when suspicion is cast on the man that she was named after, can she accept that he might be a killer? If he finds out what she suspects, could that put even the life of his beloved niece in jeopardy?
I don't really know how to review Shadow of a Doubt. I found myself liking it, even though I can't give any particular reasons why. In fact, I found it to be meandering and a little unfocused, at times. Yet it still left me with a positive impression. It had a different feel from any of the other Hitchcock movies that I've seen. There's little mystery to it, and the thrills and suspense are of a different kind than those that were offered in North by Northwest or Notorious. I'd struggle to compare this to any of his other movies. Yet, the director felt that it was his favorite. I can't deny that I found the relationship between Charlie and her uncle to be interesting, in all its phases. And since so much of the plot hinges on that, then perhaps that explains some of Shadow of a Doubt's likeability.
I'd say that if you're a fan of Hitchcock, give this film about family menace in Santa Rosa a try. It's a bit of an odd duck, yet it was entertaining, nonetheless. I put it firmly in the middle of the pack of Hitchcock's movies.
the story is about the characters of two "charlies" in an average household. the uncle charlie is a closet sociopath with penchant to strangle rich widows to serve his twisted idealism. young charlie is a naive small-town girl with whimsical ruminations all the time. to escape from investigator, uncle charlie takes refugee in his elder sister's home under the expectation of young charlie's mental telegracy that injects some dreamy hope into young charlie's dried life of boredom. but she would never know her dream degenerates into a horrisome nightmare as she discovers her uncle's deadly secret.
the appliance of two charlies with the introduction of them laying on bed in seperate scenes is the resonation of their connected twin personality. uncle charlie is the dark evil side while young charlie stands for the bright gentility. as uncle charlie dies, part of young charlie's perspect of innocence also withers just like she would never be completed ever again, consuming the rest of her life mourning over the uncle she's infatuated with, as hitch once remarks "sometimes you would slaughters the one you love"....her self-guilt is severe becuz her uncle's vice is partially indulged by her connived silence, then she has to run the risk of his murderous elimination for the sake of his own safety.
joseph cotten as the merry window strangler is sinisterly dynamic, and he delivers some cynically spiteful lines upon women by demeaning old rich widows as "faded, fat. freezing animals" who squader their diligent husbands' hard-earned fortunes by being wastefully leisure all the time, he detests them but takes belief that their annihilations would improve the world as a better place that is the most harsh misogynisitc comment ever in hitch's movies. or lines like "women are fools! they could be in love with anything!!" his idealism detorted with his pervert killing is the so called "moral ambiguity"... there're some stylish shots of cotten's smoking poises full of contempts and complacency as he gazes outside the window as well as his disregard to the conventional superstition by tossing his hat toward the bed purposedly.
there're some engrossing symbolic metaphors, such as the train cotten takes as he arrives the town emits black fume that means devil is approaching here; then the train he takes to depart exuberates white smoke that crytalizes the town as the devil's going away. ironically the ending shows the whole town santa rosa is all lamenting over uncle charlie by dubbing him "son of santa rosa" that is literarily consecrating a murderer with righteous holliness.
the tasteful part is that hitchcock never demonstrates one scene of the actual widow-strangling crime, and it's simply hinted with the killer's fierce strength to string over a napkin with a ferocious gaze. joseph cotten shall be one of the best hitchcockian villains among claude rains, robert walker and ray millard, recognition approved by hitch himself.
The characters were all very developed here and the storyline is told from a unique perspective, in that it involves the Killer?s own family.
An enjoyable performance from X White and Joseph Cotton who are both new names for me.