Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt ★★★★

Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 American psychological thriller noir film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge and Henry Travers. 

It’s that time of the week again people, film club time! This time it was Quintin’s turn to pick a film and my god did he pick a classic. As I often focus this account on the new 2020 releases, Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt is one of the earliest films I’ve reviewed on my account and embarrassingly enough my first full Hitchcock film as well, despite the fact that I own both Vertigo and Psycho. 

Now I find talking about older films a lot harder than talking about new films but I’ll try my best nevertheless. The story follows a young girl Charlotte “Charlie” Newton who is overjoyed when her favourite uncle Charlie Oakley, who in which she is named after, comes to visit. However, she soon begin to suspect he isn’t as nice as he seems to be. This Hitchcock masterclass simply wouldn’t be well received in the modern world with its strange incest vibe being something modern audiences would hate. However, despite this the storyline really worked for me. The little explanatory details like the newspaper and his off-put about the interview allow the audience to begin to grow suspicions over the actions of Charlie yet whilst it grows increasingly obvious to the audience, it’s interesting to see the way the families dynamic evolves as the film progresses. 

Early American most notably 40s American has always had a stunning look to it, the streets beam and clothing all looked miraculous and that’s what Hitchcock utilises to its full potential. However, that’s not what makes this film stand out but the brilliant performances and fantastic dialogue. Writers Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville utilise every aspect they can therefore allowing the flow naturally with each new revaluation drawing you further and further into the story. Like many of the best directors, Hitchcock gets the most of his talented stars. Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten give two stand out performances as the vindictive manipulative uncle and admiring young niece. Both performances gel incredibly well as their onscreen chemistry works wonders throughout as well as every other performances offering something great and unique to the film. 

Hitchcock’s discovery of the darkness within a small American family is both fascinating and harrowing to watch as the fear and mistrust he installs in the family throughout the 108 minute runtime leaves you on edge throughout. The ending was something I would have never expected but one that felt needed and deserved. Quintin I’ve gotta hand it to you, you’ve got me excited to see more of Hitchcock’s filmography as, at the end of the day, 1943’s Shadow of a Doubt was pure excellence. 

4/5

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