Posted on 9/02/10 07:33 PM
This may not be the most celebrated Hitchcock film, but it is one of his favorites. The only other Hitchcock film I've seen to date is "The Birds." Yes, I am missing out on many classic films, currently working on it. Anyways, Shadow of a Doubt is a masterfully made film. It is more suspenseful than most films I've seen in recent years. The subtle acting of the two leads also helps propel this film.
This film is, once you boil it down, about the relationships between two characters: Charlies and... well Charlie. They are both seemingly nice people, and it is established early that they are not interested in material things. Of course both have deal with this very differently. In the beginning of the film Hitchcock makes their relationship appear as if it may lead to a sexual one. Of course they are Uncle and Niece, and so seeing the two flirting and being close make the viewer very uncomfortable. It is rather brilliant.
There are so many motifs, subtleties and attention to detail that makes the film intriguing without even focusing on the plot. Hitchcock uses camera angles, recurring themes and photographic images to aid in the storytelling. Take the introductions of Charles and Charlie. Both these scenes are parallel to each other, showing both characters lying on their bed, shrouded in shadows. These small touches, and motifs really drew me in to the film, and made me yearn to watch more, and isn't that what a film is supposed to do?
There are several images in the film that are hauntingly beautiful. As Charlie's brother stands at the train station, becoming enveloped by the shadows of the train, When Uncle Charlie is describing his hatred for rich widows and turns to the camera and says "Are they?," And the devastating scene of young charlie realizing that her uncle is getting away with his crime and stares at him in the doorway. All of these images will most likely be etched in my memory for eternity.
This film has no gratuitous violence, in fact it has none. It is a quieter film than most thrillers today. I will need to watch it again in order to pick up on the numerous details of it. I suggest you do the same.