Shadow of a Doubt Reviews
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!
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.
(Full review coming soon - with better wording probably)
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.
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.
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.