Shadow of a Doubt

Screening on Film
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
With Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotton, MacDonald Carey.
US, 1943, 35mm, black & white, 108 min.

Arguably the earliest masterpiece among Hitchcock’s Hollywood films, Shadow of a Doubt engagingly states one of the great themes of his oeuvre: the idea that evil is not something foreign and distant, but close and familiar. This theme emerges naturally from the story of young Charlie and her love for her charming uncle, also named Charlie, who also happens to be a serial killer. Bored by her humdrum existence in all-American Santa Rosa, California, Charlie is thrilled when her uncle shows up; she understands him so well that she becomes the only one to notice he is not what he seems. The contributions of playwright Thornton Wilder – author of Our Town – further intensified the small-town ambiance so crucial to Hitchcock. Throughout his career, the director would count Shadow of a Doubt his own favorite.

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