Thursday, October 14, 2010

Capsule Review: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Hitchcock's favorite of his own films, and one with a unique tone and look thanks to being shot on location in Santa Rosa, California. Teresa Wright plays the young Charlotte 'Charlie' Newton who has grown tired of her familiar small town surroundings and wishes for excitement, which soon appears in the form of her namesake Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton). At first Uncle Charlie creates quite a stir, but after a visit from some FBI agents (posing as magazine photographers) Charlie begins to suspect that her Uncle might actually be the 'Merry Widow Murderer'. Filled with a growing tension, as well as plenty of black humor, Shadow of a Doubt plays with one of my favorite themes - the seething underbelly behind idyllic suburbia - and features two terrific lead performances, particularly Joseph Cotton who manages to hit the right note of quite menace. Remade as a TV movie in 1991, and an obvious influence on films like The Stepfather and Orson Welles (inferior) The Stranger.

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