SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Gordon McDonnell (story) & Sally Benson & Alma Reville

Starring: Teresa Wright (Charlie), Joseph Cotton (Uncle Charlie)

Genre: Thriller/Mystery (available in DVD format)

Reviewed by Judith Fox

This story is a suspense mystery. The mystery is about murders and is there going to be another murder.

Imagine the setting for this film. The background music is "The Merry Widow Waltz," well suited to the killer. Now in your mind see a typical American town in the 1940ís. Ah yes, small town America which is so charming. Itís Santa Rosa, which is a big town now.

The director, Alfred Hitchcock, is a master of this type of story. The quiet little town is perfect. The film is in black and white but the atmosphere of bliss is conveyed to the viewer. In this town we enter the quaint little house of a happy family with father, mother and two sisters, and a brother.

The oldest sister, Charlie, is named after her motherís younger brother, Charles. The family always says Charlie and her uncle are so much alike.

Uncle Charlie doesnít live in the idyllic town where the family lives.

The contented little family chirp and bustle along in their lives. Then one day they receive a telegram. Handsome and charming Uncle Charlie is arriving for a visit and everything changes.

Only Charlie eventually twigs on to what Uncle Charlie really is, heartbreaking though it may be for her. The devil has come to town.

This movie is full of atmosphere and subtleties I found fascinating. Kind of like accompanying all the characters as they go about their business, but you are finding out things along the way with Charlie.

There are a couple of out-of-town police investigators who follow Uncle Charlie. They blend into the town while an emotional relationship blossoms between one of them and the niece, Charlie. Charlie (Teresa Wright) is an intelligent young woman and Ms. Wright being an excellent actor conveys her wonderfully. The investigators tell her they are looking for evidence against Uncle Charlie for several murders around the country. With her delicate beauty and sharp observations, Charlie is fascinating to watch as she puts the puzzle together. The truth about Uncle Charlie horrifies her.

Only Charlie knows the real Uncle Charlie and she must carry the burden to take the responsibility and protect her family and the town from him. When he knows that Charlie has found him out, the games begin. With cunning and quickness, Uncle Charlie and Charlie match wits to see who will win.

The whole film is so real, the viewer will feel pulled into the story. There are many great shots and the scenes are full of unusual angles and shadows, a trademark of Hitchcockís work.

I donít think it will surprise anyone that the reviewer recommends this hypnotic classic film a must-see.

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