Shadow of a Doubt



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 89%
IMDb Rating 7.8 10 57437

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 10, 2020 at 05:47 PM


Alfred Hitchcock as Man on Train Playing Cards
Joseph Cotten as Charlie Oakley
Hume Cronyn as Herbie Hawkins
Teresa Wright as Charlie Newton
991.29 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
P/S 5 / 25

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Steffi_P 10 / 10

"Average families are the best"

Alfred Hitchcock's style as a director was a bit like a train – it ran perfectly well, but only along its own lines. He wasn't comfortable adapting his style to suit the material, but when the material suited his style he could do incredible things.

Three years and five pictures into his Hollywood career, Hitch had been having some trouble finding projects he was comfortable with. He had made a couple of adventure thrillers in the vein of his late 30s British films, but the old magic wasn't there. Finally, with Shadow of a Doubt he came upon a project that was right up his street. It represents a welcome return to the domestic murder dramas that had given him his earliest successes (The Lodger, Blackmail), with a storyline ideal for Hitchcock. It is the purest example of murder in a "normal" setting, bringing the audience uncomfortably close to the killer, helped along with plenty of the grisly gallows humour that the Master loved.

Hitch's British pictures had great charm and character, but they were often technically a little haphazard. By now though he knows exactly how to use the camera to manipulate the audience. He begins by carrying us into the story, sweeping in over the city through scenery both pretty and ugly, to home in on an average looking neighbourhood. From then on, every shot, move and edit is calculated to keep up the suspense and unfold the plot. Whereas those early films were swamped and sometimes spoiled by showy camera tricks, Hitch now uses those techniques sparingly, like playing a trump card. For example, he has Joseph Cotton look directly into the camera for a brief moment as he snatches the newspaper back from Theresa Wright. Another trick is to have the camera dolly back as a character advances, only at a faster speed than the actor is moving, which gives a very dizzying effect.

Special mention should also be made of Dimitri Tiomkin's score. Tiomkin was the best composer Hitch worked with before Bernard Hermann, and one of the few who really understood how a Hitchcock film needs to be scored. His sparse string arrangements really capture that sense of spiralling terror without overpowering the scene and turning it into melodrama. He interpolates Franz Lehar's Merry Widow waltz at just the right level, making it noticeable but never overstated– throwing in just a bar or two at an opportune moment, sometimes disguising it in a minor key.

We also have a great cast lined up here. This is among Joseph Cotton's finest performances, which is unusual because Hitch was not a brilliant director of actors. I believe the reason is that, although his soft, honest features meant he usually played clean-cut good guys (as well as making him the perfect choice for the friendly uncle no-one would suspect), he was actually at his best when playing villains. That air of affected friendliness, which gives way to a deadpan monotone, is ironically far more convincing than when he attempted to play genuine niceness. Theresa Wright also does a brilliant job of handling her character's transition from childlike innocence to knowing cynicism. The icing on the cake is a couple of spot-on comic relief supporting parts from Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn.

It's quite appropriate that in his cameo for Shadow of a Doubt, Hitchcock is shown holding all the cards, because here he really did have all the elements working in his favour. It marks the beginning of his golden age and lays down the blueprint for such classics as Rear Window, Vertigo and Psycho. This is about as close to perfect as Hitchcock's pictures get.

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 10 / 10

One of Cotten's triumphs; Hitchcock's film is not unconventional, but unabashedly gripping

One thing that strikes many who come upon Shadow of a Doubt, one of this filmmaker's triumphs, is the knowledge that it was Hitchcock's favorite among his own films- and many watch it with very high expectations, getting shot down as well, making it one of his more under-rated efforts. True, it doesn't go for the immense macabre that lay in Psycho, The Birds, and Frenzy, but it is very effective in telling its stories, and giving us character to either love, or love to hate.

The whole concept to the story is very appealing- a (painfully) normal suburban family gets a calling from a relative- Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten)- who wants to come by for a little while. The oldest daughter, also named Charlie (Teresa Wright), almost feels like a kindred spirit to her uncle, happy as can be that he's come to visit. Things start to unravel, however, when two detectives on his trail come into town, bringing to young Charlie to light what could be going down, or what might not be, or what is as clear as psychopathic day.

It's actually of interest to compare this film to Psycho, I think, in how it's so akin to to how Hitchcock tells the story of the ordinary people of the world getting involved with a certifiable gentlemen. And, perhaps, one could argue (I might, up to a point) that Cotten's performance rivals that of a Perkins' Norman Bates leading male in the sense of subtleties of the suspense in the film. He seems so... calm so much in the film, and even when he shows his hand as to who he really is, there's a lot of depth to his personality. We may hate him, but he is an understandable, frighteningly recognizable monster.

And it solidifies in my book that Cotten had a wonderful range in his work, when he could go from playing a Jed Leland in Citizen Kane to this film, and then on to The Third Man's Holly Martins. Here, he digs into the character and you'll either find it unconvincing in the 40's sense, or a knock-out. As for Teresa Wright, she finds some good notes as well in playing off of Cotten, even in the earlier scenes. And those kids are just the right icing to the cake the film cooks up.

It may take a couple of viewings to really warm up to this film, or you may like it right away. But Shadow of a Doubt contains not only fine acting, but also some trademark Hitchcock camera stylizing. My favorites included a particular shot closing in from medium close-up to extreme close-up on Uncle Charlie when he's in a memorable monologue at the dinner table. Another is the use of the dark value on the characters when they talk outside. And, of course, a climax that is genuine in theatricality. A+

Reviewed by The_Void 10 / 10

Dark and brooding thriller from the master of suspense

It is well known that this film is Alfred Hitchcock's favourite of his own oeuvre, and it's a big favourite of mine also. It is also well documented that for this film, Hitchcock stated that he "wants to bring violence back into the home, where it belongs" and he has certainly succeeded at doing that. Hitchcock spends much of the early screen time building up the family at the centre of the tale, and then allowing the violence to come to them, which shows Hitchcock's mastery of the medium as showing the story develop in this way makes the tale much more frightening than if we hadn't got to know the family at the centre of the story first. Joseph Cotten stars as uncle Charlie; a man fleeing Philadelphia to escape the law after marrying and then murdering several rich widows. He goes to stay with his sister and her family, which includes a husband, two young children and the eldest daughter; his niece and namesake; also called 'Charlie'.

Hitchcock puts the focus of the story on young Charlie and her relationship with her uncle. This gives the story a frightening angle as it follows the classic tale of the strange uncle. It's also well done as young Charlie is shown to be the sweetest of characters, and when the dark uncle Charlie enters the fray, her sweet world is infected by nightmares, which also gives way to elements of the classic 'coming of age' tale to enter the proceedings. As if that wasn't enough, Shadow of a Doubt also exposes the trust we put in our loved ones, and how any person is likely to try and shift the blame, or ignore it completely, if their loved one has done wrong. This is shown by the way that young Charlie still attempts to cover for her beloved uncle even when all the evidence is pointing to him being guilty. Hitchcock has turned this thriller, which could easily have been routine, into a complex study of a family that retains it's interest throughout due to the multiple themes on display.

Joseph Cotten was the absolute perfect choice to play uncle Charlie. His portrayal is picture perfect; he carries with him an atmosphere of dread and morbidity throughout, even when he's not doing anything wrong. A role of this sort is difficult to get right, as it's all to easy to underplay it so it isn't effective, or to overstate it so it becomes ridiculous; but Cotten gets the performance spot on. Teresa Wright, who stars alongside Cotten in the role of the other Charlie also does well and delivers a mature and assured performance that fits her character brilliantly. Some of the supporting roles look a little suspect at times, but on the whole the acting from the support is good enough.

The ending of the film comes somewhat against the run of play and is maybe a little bit too over the top after the rest of the film, which is largely down to earth. However, it does work and a big ending isn't something I am in the habit of complaining about. This is up there with Hitchcock's best work and therefore is highly recommended.

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