DK’s review published on Letterboxd:
Before settled his feet in America, Hitchcock had made several great British thriller films in the 1930s (The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes are the biggest hit), ever since he had found his treasured blueprint, with Shadow of a Doubt it seemed like he had discovered a project that was right in its path with an ideal storyline for Hitchcock. Shadow of a Doubt takes the audience's time to feel the close discomfort of the killer character. Typically, British Hitchcock films have great charm and character, but they are often technically a little frivolous. In his Hollywood’s debut, Rebecca was like a new experience for Hitchcock in how he used and adjust cameras and viewpoints to manipulate audiences.
By introducing murderer into the average American home, Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt complements its most persistent directing theme right down to its main component. Tells the story of a young girl, who is overjoyed when her beloved uncle comes to visit her family and decides to stay a few days, the girl slowly suspects that her uncle might be the serial killer the authorities are looking for. The idea for Shadow of a Doubt was first proposed to Hitchcock when he was creating Saboteur (1942). During this period of his career, Hitchcock frequently prepared material for his next film while in production in other films. The film has an interesting form that Hitchcock uses several times, which is to set a carefully constructed contrast between the two main characters, contrasts which in turn reflect the further complex themes of the wider film setting and story. Here, the main difference comes from the relationship between Uncle Charlie and his niece Charlotte / Young Charlie. Their incredibly close relationship creates suspense and intrigue that goes beyond the basic concerns of the main storyline.
In his trademark approach, Hitchcock played with his audience for the first half of the duration and did not bring up the point until the timing was right, Shadow of a Doubt playing with paranoia, misleading and ambiguous dialogue, and great acting to create ambiguity. Hitchcock is a master of classic Hollywood composition styles; it's easy enough to conceptualize the film after five or ten minutes due to the signature camera placement. He uses the famous camera language only with a little more elegance. He uses contrasting light areas and shadows in the frame to create an ambiguous impression, sometimes showing that there is something or a hint in the scene.
With all its flaws, Shadow of a Doubt remains in amongs of good stuff of Hitchcock, since we know this is his own favorite film we clearly understand the reasons why. This film has a lot of suspense, and solid performances from everyone involved. Despite, it’s not my favorite of Hitch, Shadow of a Doubt was successfully packaged with the aim of draining the audience's energy to experience deep horror, and this is certainly one of the Hitchcock thrillers with a satisfying and lucky ending for the protagonist.