Shadow of a Doubt

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"A Blast of DRAMATIC Dynamite exploded right before your eyes!"
  • Passed
  • 1943
  • 1 hr 48 min
  • 7.8  (69,126)
  • 94

Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 thriller film directed by the legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, marking one of his earliest explorations into the American psyche. Set in the idyllic town of Santa Rosa, California, the film follows the life of a young girl named Charlie (played by Teresa Wright), who is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her favorite uncle, Charlie (played by Joseph Cotten), for a visit. However, things take a murky turn when she begins to suspect her uncle is not what he seems, and may in fact be a notorious serial killer on the loose.

The film explores several themes, most notably the corrosive and dangerous aspects of unchecked and unearned privilege. As Uncle Charlie, Joseph Cotten embodies the dark side of American exceptionalism, displaying a sense of entitlement and an utter lack of empathy or regard for his fellow human beings. This is contrasted by the simple yet grounded life of the film's other characters, who labor for their livelihoods and try to create happiness through small pleasures.

The relationship between the two Charlies is very intriguing, as it is shown to be much more complicated than just a typical niece-and-uncle relationship. The older Charlie seems to be drawn to the young girl, but not necessarily in a familial way. The pair initiate a playful game of guessing each other's thoughts, but as the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that the older man may harbor darker, more sinister thoughts than his young charge.

The film has several standout scenes, including a suspenseful encounter between Uncle Charlie and two detectives on a train, and a dramatic moment in which Charlie confronts her uncle about her suspicions of his criminal activities. The climax of the film takes place during a family dinner party, and it is here that the truth about Uncle Charlie is finally revealed.

One of the film's greatest strengths is its portrayal of small town America, and how the residents are impacted by the arrival of this charming yet destructive stranger. We see how the idyllic setting can be both comforting and stifling, how everyone knows each other's business, and how loyalty to community can sometimes blind us to the darker side of human nature. These themes are expertly woven into a taught and suspenseful narrative, with the tension building expertly from scene to scene.

The performances in Shadow of a Doubt are also noteworthy, with Teresa Wright giving a standout performance as the curious and headstrong Charlie. Her interactions with Joseph Cotten are expertly played, providing an intriguing dynamic that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Cotten himself is excellent as the charming but sinister Uncle Charlie, expertly portraying the character's charm and duplicity. The supporting cast is also strong, with Macdonald Carey providing a solid turn as Jack Graham, a detective investigating the case.

Overall, Shadow of a Doubt is an excellent thriller that expertly explores the toxic effects of privilege, and builds suspense through expert pacing, writing, and acting. Hitchcock's skillful direction and expert use of shadow and light create a moody and tense atmosphere that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats until the final reveal. This is a must-see film for fans of suspenseful thrillers, and a testament to Alfred Hitchcock's genius as a filmmaker.

Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 94.

Shadow of a Doubt
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Shadow of a Doubt is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Peacock Premium, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Shadow of a Doubt for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 48 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (69,126)
  • Metascore