Shadow of a Doubt - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shadow of a Doubt Reviews

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½ March 25, 2016
This was Hitchcock's personal favourite?? Okay then.
March 9, 2016
Alfred Hitchcock's personal favourite film has none of the showiness of his more popular classics. It is a finely told coming-of-age story of a young woman in a moral dilemma when she discovers immense adoration and unimaginable menace can emanate from the same person.
February 20, 2016
Hitchcock's first all-American feature finds its home in the world of white picket fences and apple trees where he attempts to show what happens when a darker world enters there. I'm all for slow burners, and this one has its moments, and a splendid performance from Joseph Cotton, but far too much time is spent on the trivialities of American small town life, triteness cannot sustain interest throughout nearly two hours, and there's a little sense anything has changed once we leave there. This story would have been better suited to an hour long Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, although this wouldn't be an option for another decade.
½ January 23, 2016
Shot on location, Shadow of a Doubt showcases Hitchcock's mastery of suspense, selective angles and mysterious characters. Added to this is a surprising amount of humour and a charming insight into small-town America. An unmissable classic!
January 17, 2016
While the script and storyline were thoroughly thought out, uncle Charlie's character wasn't. If uncle Charlie would've been represented as a killer with a deeper meaning behind his murders, and if it would've been explained why he dislikes wealthy women so much (instead of just hating them out of the blue), AND if young Charlie showed more grief after killing him, then I would have given 'Shadow of a doubt' a full on 5 star rating, since the acting and storytelling is beautifully done.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2016
Alfred Hitchcock directed over 50 films in his long career, spanning six decades and leaving an amazing body of work behind, but of them all Shadow of a Doubt was his personal favorite. The film is wonderfully paced, really allowing the tension to build up to a boiling point by the film's second half. The framing is very trademark Hitchcock and really adds to the atmosphere and establishes character's personalities as well as their relationships with one another. Joseph Cotten with his powerful stature and sophisticated look appears to be the dreamy uncle that is both rich and confident when he enters back into the life of his family. Not too long into the film though we see some strange and freighting behavior from his character and it's then that we know things aren't as they seem. We eventually find out that there is a murderer on the loose who has killed several other women and claimed their inheritances. Without spoiling the whole film's story, I will say that the film does a great job of conveying mystery and letting the viewer figure out the pieces little by little over the course of the film.
As a suspense film Shadow of a Doubt excels and really sets the whole mood and personality of the film itself, but that isn't to say that it doesn't do other things well. For example, the little girl in the film is hilarious as a young know-it-all. Her monotone delivery of advice and information is very funny and helps balance the darker elements of the film. All the actors do a wonderful job, especially Joseph Cotten in the leading role and Teresa Wright as the young Charlie, Uncle Charlie's niece. Without Cotten's masculinity and the framing style of Hitchcock making him all the more menacing as well as the dark and well written dialogue, the film could have failed to really drive up the terror factor. Luckily, this is not the case at all and we are left with a truly terrifying and ruthless villain who really gives the film it's powerful impact.
Shadow of a Doubt succeeds in all areas and manages to be one of Hitchcock's top films even though it's lesser known then other works such as Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho, The Birds, etc. If you are a fan of Hitchcock and haven't heard or seen this one, it certainly is worth a watch and is a great film worth seeing! I highly recommend it!
December 8, 2015
Thrilling movie that don't need a crazy AF villain as movie nowadays.
Super Reviewer
December 5, 2015
Interesting older movie. Good characters and well made. The initial relationship between the two Charlie's was slightly disturbing. Lol. Could be just how my mind works though.
I would say this was a more innocent time, but perhaps not when all is revealed.
The annoying younger sister was amusing and the young Charlie was quite endearing also. Black and white always looks so stylish too.
½ August 12, 2015
A genuine classic of Hitchcock's when putting suspicious suspense within the family circle that brings little thrills and strengthening power, but the stubborn and weak behavior brought this down below the master of suspense's standards to an average-valued film. (B)

(Full review coming soon - with better wording probably)
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2015
Overrated Hitchcock thriller with excellent performances from the entire cast including Joseph Cotten as a psychopath, Teresa Wright as the niece that grows suspicious of her uncle.

The film fascinates throughout, but critics seems to overlook a number of plot imperfections that give me much more than a shadow of a doubt that this is Hitchcock's most brilliant film as some critics contend.

Still worth the look especially for the staging of certain scenes between Cotten and Wright.
August 3, 2015
By now, this is the fourth Hitchcock film that I've seen and it certainly is a better representation of what I understood his work to be than SABOTEUR was. SHADOW OF A DOUBT, which Hitchcock said was his favorite, is a rather simple tale that explores one of his favorite themes: mistaken identity. Joseph Cotten (THE THIRD MAN) plays "Uncle Charlie" who visits his family for a visit in Santa Rosa, California. However, he's not quite what his young niece Charlie remembers. One thing I've noticed about Hitchcock's films is the various ways he's able to create tension and suspense in a way that keeps the viewer hooked. Some of the elements he uses includes light and shadow, camera angles, the score, etc. All of them came together in a rather cohesive way that kept me interested in seeing where the story would go. This film also captures an America in transition. The world created here isn't the paranoia-filled one of SABOTEUR, but still one where suspicion is very palpable and there's a sense that trust is becoming less of an innate quality in Everytown, USA. Like in SABOTEUR, there are two characters who serve as thematic counterpoint to each other. Here, they are the two Charlies. Joseph Cotten's character is somewhat of an idealized figure for his young niece (Teresa Wright), but the reality of how cynical and pessimistic he really is gets revealed over the course of the film. I thought it was a brilliant way of showing how expectations measure up when faced with reality. There's also the "is he/isn't he?" sense of if he's really even the person he purports to be, which plays into the themes of suspicion and trust. One thing I wasn't entirely expecting was the awkward sexual tension (in a few scenes) between the two Charlies, which added an incest layer that helped to flesh out the tense relationship between them. If there's anything weak about the film, the ending was a bit abrupt and a romance that develops between young Charlie and a detective seemed to be shoehorned in (and provided for an unnecessary coda. Still, I liked this film very much and it bodes well for the successive Hitchcock films I'll be viewing later this month.
½ June 28, 2015
Saw this on 28/6/15
What's most disappointing is to know that this dim and predictable film was Hitchcock's personal favourite. Teresa Wright gives a meaningful performance, but like all the other old Hollywood films, this one too is diminished by the fact that they all end with a predictable happy end and good triumphs over evil. This is not a serial killer film like Psycho or Frenzy, it's more like a drama from Hitchcock. It's well acted and marginally enjoyable, but I could never really get into it.
½ June 27, 2015
150628: Again, Rope (1948) is the winner in this triple-header Hitchcock Saturday. This film putts along and I never felt myself being drawn in. No attachment to the characters. Oh well, I should've watched this film first, then Saboteur (1943) then Rope; ending with my favorite.
½ April 30, 2015
The theme of doubles and symbolism on the dark undercurrents of society is so well portrayed here and it's also just a mainstream entertaining movie on top of all the depth. Truly one of Hitchcock's best.
½ February 28, 2015
One of my all time favorite Hitchcocks
February 13, 2015
Known As Hitchcock's Favorite Film, Shadow Of A Doubt Is A Excellently Made Mystery Drama. Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) Is In Town, For A Seemingly Innocent Visit. His Niece (Teresa Wright), Has Noticed Suspicious Behavior. When 2 Undercover Cops Approach Her However, The Audience Are Left Guessing To The End If Uncle Charlie Is A Murderer. Hitchcock Builds Up Great Atmosphere & Suspense (As Most Of His Films Do). The Film Has Talented Writers, Excellent Cinematography & Excellent Editing, Which Helps Add The Elements Of Suspense Effectively. The Film Was Scored By Dimitri Tiomkin, In His First Collaboration With Hitchcock (The Others Being Strangers On A Train, I Confess & Dial M For Murder). In His Score, Tiomkin Samples The Famous Merry Widow Waltz By Franz Lehar, Often In Distorted Forms As A Leitmotif For Uncle Charlie & His Serial Murders.
½ January 20, 2015
Una historia muy simple , pero que en manos de Hitch se hace muy memorable, humor sarc├ stico, unos personajes divertidos y un mal├Ęfico villano , estupenda direcci├▓n , lo ├╣nico malo es un desenlace muy forzado.
January 17, 2015
Moderately interesting screenplay but not well cast. Joseph Cotton is horrible in the lead. The blurb given here by RT is laughable--there are no "flesh-crawling thrills" in the movie. Nor are the characters "finely shaded"--more like utterly one-dimensional.
½ January 13, 2015
My first Hitchcock movie!!! Finally.

I tend to be wary when I watch old movies, maybe just because I always expect something like Citizen Kane: apparently extremely well-regarded, but ultimately a little boring. I figured it'd be different with this movie, since it's Hitchcock, who always makes thrilling movies, but I still had my concerns. But I was totally held the whole way through.

This movie isn't a thriller in the same way that a lot of modern-day thrillers are. There wasn't any explicit violence until the last few scenes, and even then, it was pretty tame. Still, though, it's suspenseful, because you don't know exactly what Uncle Charlie's secret is, and even though you can kind of assume it's murder, it's tense knowing that he has a secret and younger Charlie doesn't know.

It's a really interesting dynamic between the two. The movie starts with young Charlie's devotion to him almost a little too much - there's some uncomfortable sexual tension between them - but that makes it even sadder when Charlie slowly begins to realize the rumors about her uncle are correct, and her expressions of idolatry slowly turn to confusion, anxiety, and a subtle somberness. Teresa Wright is such a bubbly, sunny presence as Charlie, and Joseph Cotten is good at the kind of charming and charismatic yet secretive and deeply contemptuous character. That scene where he described how rich women deserved to die was pretty tense, and as the movie went on, I couldn't believe how evil he became, especially considering I thought the movie was going to feature him more as an antihero. But when Uncle Charlie started actually making attempts on Charlie's life, I was shocked.

There were a couple silly things, mostly having to do with Jack Graham, the detective. The timing is kind of awkward in one scene, with Charlie suddenly yelling, "You're a detective, aren't you?" or whatever before the transition had even finished, with little to no buildup. Also, when Graham said he loved her, it was a little unbelievable considering they only had one date, basically. Everyone at my screening laughed a little when he said that. To the movie's credit, though, Charlie actually rejected him, which I wasn't expecting as much. There's no real 'happily ever after' for Charlie and Jack, though we don't know what happens after the events of the movie.

Besides, there were a lot of really nice touches that made up for any small grievances I had. There were a lot of really funny moments in the movie, usually due to the younger two siblings. That girl (Anne I think?) is hilarious, isn't she? Almost every line she said made me laugh. She was so cute and funny. I also was surprised to be entertained by all the conversations between the father and Herb. That little subplot was nice comic relief, and I enjoyed how it dovetailed with the main plot when Charlie overheard them and exploded at the family.

Overall, this was a great first Hitchcock experience, and I'm really looking forward to watching more of his stuff.
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