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Shadow of a Doubt [VHS]
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Top Customer Reviews
--Theresa Wright gave an extraordinary performance as Young Charlie, immensely sympathetic and appealing. I rate hers as the best acting job by a female lead in any of Hitchock's films, including those by Bergman, Kelly, et al.
--It was a perfect role for Cotten, an actor I like, who had charm, attractiveness, but to me always seemed a little weak. I thought the role, however psychopathic, suited his personality.
--The murder by-play at the family dinner table was great fun and played off Uncle Charlie's real murderousness.
--The slowly building knowledge that Young Charlie was realizing the truth about the uncle she idolized and the knowledge that no one would believe her.
--The slowly building realization that despite the affection Uncle Charlie had for Young Charlie, he probably was going to do her harm.
--The affection that Hitchcock shows toward comfortable small town America. It's an idealization, but without condescension. And because he plays it straight, he makes Uncle Charlie's philosophy of life seem all the more unsettling.
--The script was, I think, one of the best written and tightest Hitchcock ever worked with.
There's no mystery. We know Uncle Charlie is a killer. The movie is about how Young Charlie and Uncle Charlie are going to resolve their problem as they circle around each other. Hitchcock creates an increasingly unsettling atmosphere, using gentle humor as a foil, and with a person, Young Charlie, it's easy to care about.
The DVD transfer is very good.
Anyway, the film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Thornton Wilder, stars a wonderful cast including Teresa Wright, who appeared with Gary Cooper the previous year in The Pride of the Yankees (1942), Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane, The Third Man), and Henry Travers (High Sierra, Mrs. Miniver, It's a Wonderful Life). Also making an appearance is Hume Cronyn making his film debut in a supporting role as a mousy neighbor.
The story involves a family in a small California town, and the impending arrival of a relative, Charlie (Cotten), from back east. Most anticipatory is younger Charlie (Wright), named after her uncle, as she feels a deep, almost telepathic connection to this man she hasn't seen in quite awhile. Now, before Charlie's departure for California, we get a general sense of unease, as it seems Charlie is involved in something of a sinister nature. Upon arriving in California, the visit seems to be going well, as the family welcomes him with open arms, but soon we learn that trouble has followed Charlie in the form of two rather shady individuals who present themselves with a certain amount of deception, which is elaborated on later. The older Charlie's behavior begins to change subtly, perceptible only to the younger Charlie and us, the audience.Read more ›
By now, everyone knows the story of Uncle Charlie and his adoring niece and how she slowly uncovers the truth behind her mysterious uncle's past.
What's brilliant about this movie is the way it foreshadowed and still influences movies today. Think of "Blue Velvet" and its portrayal of the naive small town boy uncovering a secret to his sleepy little town. Or even "The Third Man" just a few years later where, ironically, Joseph Cotton finds the truth about his best friend, Orson Welles.
What makes this film endure is its theme: The loss of innocence. the innocence of Teresa Wright's adoring neice (watch the brilliant scene in the bar where she sits down with Joseph Cotton), the innocence of Charlie's family and of course, the innocence of Santa Rosa itself.
Perhaps Hitchcock and Thornton Wilder were prophetic in the way they mapped out the loss of America's innocence especially after the war. (the film was released around then). Look at our society now and how everything has changed. The 50's were looked upon as the decade we lost our innocence (Some even point far later to the Vietnam war as the period that ended it) but Hitchcock back in the 40's was saying that everything was not all right, and that bad things just didn't happen in dark alleys and dark houses, that it could happen on the sunniest of days and in most Apple Pie, White picket fence homes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Clearly this movie is one of Hitchcock's underrated bests! The subtle use of shadows used to convey varying feelings is a special, but simple effect of this early film. Read morePublished 3 days ago by EE
Great suspenseful movie. Typical Alfred Hitchcock directing. Excellent acting and cast member's, especially Teresa Wright. Read morePublished 5 days ago by soozx5
Not one of Hitchcock's finer moments and it definitely shows its age more than many of his better works. It's less annoying than Marnie, but that's about all I can say for it.Published 1 month ago by P. M. Bedell
Love suspenseful movies. The old movies, not the ones they have today.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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