Shadow of a Doubt ★★★★★

Watched this in anticipation of visiting Santa Rosa in a few weeks -- most of the locations are long gone but the railroad depot and the family house are still there! Thought it was interesting that some offhand dialogue implies that Charlie's family was rooted in St. Paul, just like eventual Santa Rosa resident Charles Schulz. Reread the chapter on this in Bill Krohn's Hitchcock at Work and was again absorbed in learning just how much Hitchcock and his collaborators could do when freed from the Selznick reins. (One fascinating tidbit I'd forgotten is how much of the dialogue was rewritten during shooting, much of it by Collinge -- she's responsible for the proposal scene not being an embarrassment. This seems to have been a technique Hitchcock would've used all the time if he'd been able: use the script as a vague outline, write with the camera and work out specifics of dialogue with the actors, which he took all the way in Notorious; he'll never get credit for such flexibility and spontaneity because it's so crucial to his legend that he was the exact opposite, but I think the freewheeling nature of his best work is why it's so human and long-lived.)

The movie is of course infallible, and I still think one of the most disturbing American thrillers -- and what seems especially timely is its exploration of the difficulty of believing an Upstanding Citizen and beloved family member could deep down be a terrible, reprehensible human being.

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