Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt

4.5 7
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Alfred Hitchcock, Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, MacDonald Carey

     
 

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Teresa Wright plays Charlie, a small-town high-schooler who enjoys a symbiotic relationship with her favorite uncle, also named Charlie (Joseph Cotten). When young Charlie "wills" that old Charlie pay a visit to her family, her wish comes true. Uncle Charlie is his usual charming self, but he seems a bit secretive and reserved at times. Too, his manner of speaking is…  See more details below

Overview

Teresa Wright plays Charlie, a small-town high-schooler who enjoys a symbiotic relationship with her favorite uncle, also named Charlie (Joseph Cotten). When young Charlie "wills" that old Charlie pay a visit to her family, her wish comes true. Uncle Charlie is his usual charming self, but he seems a bit secretive and reserved at times. Too, his manner of speaking is curiously unsettling, especially when he brings up the subject of rich widows, whom he characterizes as "swine." When a pair of detectives (MacDonald Carey and Wallace Ford), posing as magazine writers, arrive in town and begin asking questions about Uncle Charlie, young Charlie's curiosity is aroused. Why, for example, has Uncle Charlie torn an article out of the evening newspaper? Rushing to the library, Young Charlie locates the missing item: the headline screams WHO IS THE MERRY WIDOW MURDERER? As the horrified Charlie reads on, the conclusion is inescapable: her beloved Uncle Charlie is a mass murderer, preying upon wealthy old women. And what happens next? Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville (Mrs. Hitchcock) based their screenplay on a story by Gordon McDowell, who in turn was inspired by real-life "Merry Widow Murderer" Earle Leonard Nelson. The casting, from stars to bit players, is impeccable; the best of the batch is Hume Cronyn, making his film debut as a wimpy murder-mystery aficionado. Lensed on location in Santa Rosa, California, The Shadow of a Doubt wasAlfred Hitchcock's favorite film.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
One of Hitchcock's best films of the 1940s, Shadow of a Doubt is both a fascinating psychological case study and a scathing portrait of the American middle-class family. The film is often considered one of Hitchcock's darkest, and the director himself reportedly claimed it as his favorite. Cynicism underlies all the proceedings, from young Charlie's "miraculous" summoning of her Uncle Charlie (tantamount to calling up the Angel of Death) to Uncle Charlie's chilling exposition of his view on life, relayed to his niece: "You live in a dream. Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if you ripped the fronts off houses you'd find swine? The world's a hell. What does it matter what happens in it?" This is one of Hitchcock's most unsettling films, preoccupied like many other Hitchcock works with good vs. evil, and the capacity for evil that lurks within us all; and it is also one of his most stylized, gorgeously shot by Joseph Valentine. Featuring stellar performances from Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten (as well as Hume Cronyn's comical debut as a dim-witted, self-appointed murder "expert"), Shadow of a Doubt is a memorable experience as both a major Hitchcock film and an enduringly creepy commentary on human nature. Rebecca Flint

Product Details

Release Date:
10/01/2013
UPC:
0025192182617
Original Release:
1943
Rating:
PG
Source:
Universal Studios
Time:
1:48:00
Sales rank:
21,201

Special Features

Beyond doubt: the making of Hitchcock's favorite film; Production drawings by art director Robert Boyle; Production photographs; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joseph Cotten Charlie Oakley
Teresa Wright Young Charlie Newton
MacDonald Carey Jack Graham
Henry Travers Joseph Newton
Patricia Collinge Emma Newton
Wallace Ford Fred Saunders
Hume Cronyn Herbie Hawkins
Edna May Wonacott Ann Newton
Charley Bates Roger Newton
Irving Bacon Station Master
Clarence Muse Pullman Porter
Janet Shaw Louise
Estelle Jewell Girlfriend
Earle Dewey Mr. Norton
Ruth Lee Mrs. MacCurdy
Minerva Urecal Mrs. Henderson
Isabel Randolph Mrs. Green
Eily Malyon Librarian
John McGuire Detective
Byron Shores Detective
Edwin Stanley Mr. Green
Virginia Brissac Dr. and Mrs. Phillips
Frances Carson Mrs. Poetter
Edward Fielding Doctor on Train
Grandon Rhodes Reverand MacCurdy
Shirley Mills Young Girl
Sarah Edwards Wife on Train
Constance Purdy Mrs. Martin
Vaughan Glaser Dr. Phillips

Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Sally Benson Screenwriter
Robert F. Boyle Art Director
Bernard B. Brown Sound/Sound Designer
Miton Carruth Editor
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
John B. Goodman Art Director
Joan Harrison Screenwriter
Gordon McDonell Screenwriter
Charles Previn Musical Direction/Supervision
Alma Reville Screenwriter
Edward Ray Robinson Set Decoration/Design
Jack H. Skirball Producer
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer
William Tummel Asst. Director
Joseph A. Valentine Cinematographer
Vera West Costumes/Costume Designer
Thornton Wilder Screenwriter

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Shadow of a Doubt 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely beautiful cinematography and spectacular direction. Like always, Hitchcock inspires me with his creative and innovative filmmaking techniques. Shadow Of A Doubt is so well done--with suspense, intrigue & mystery, outstanding visual elements & great performances--it's everything you'd expect from Hitch and more. Definitely worth experiencing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joseph Cotten is "Uncle Charlie", an Eastern man-about-town who comes for an extended visit in the home of his relatives, a normal, middle-class American family. He is welcomed with open arms by all, until his namesake niece (Teresa Wright) begins to suspect that her uncle is a psychopathic murderer. It's true. His warped mind, ruthlessness and frenzy break through the veneer of charm and confidence he had projected until the worst doubts of the niece are confirmed. With her realization of the awful truth about Uncle Charlie, she is faced with the need to protect her family and his determination to silence her at any cost. Cotten is superb as the murdering uncle and Wright is perfect as the niece who is caught in the crossfire of affection for her uncle and fear for her life at his hands (sadly, the Academy failed to nominate her for an Oscar that year as they had done for her previous three films, but she did win Best Actress from the National Board of Review). Patricia Collinge is touching as her mother, who remains oblivious to all but delight in rediscovering her brother while Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn are both highly enjoyable as Young Charlie's father and as Herbie, his "partner in crime". It's easy to see who this was Hitchcock's own personal favorite. As close to perfection as you can get. [filmfactsman]
GinaK More than 1 year ago
This is one of Hitchcock's best films, and you can watch again and again and never get bored. Joseph Cotten is superb in the lead role, both charming and sinister at the same time. The print is a pleasure to watch, and the special features are extremely interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When I watched Shadow of a Doubt I was expecting Hitchcock to give a movie that was chilling and horrific. A small town plagued by an unknown serial killer called the Merry Widow Murderer? This set up for a good movie. It did not. Personally, I found most of the "small-town" characters to be annoying and totally one-dimensional. There is no doubt that Alfred Hitchcock is the greatest director of all time, but this piece of balony could have belonged to any B-movie director. The most ANNOYING character was either "young Charlie" or the mother, who talked way too much and had this inherent stupidity about her.