Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt ★★★★½

Recommended to me by The Movie King
Alfred Hitchcock: Part 1/5, from 10 Directors/5 Unseen Films

Alfred Hitchcock is one of cinema's greatest directors and Shadow of a Doubt is the fifth film that I've seen by him on the back of Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds and all five feature in my favourite films. Shadow of a Doubt is a classic suspense movie that sees a distant relative return to a family home, but it's clear that he's not everything he says he is and he may be something far more sinister. Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is instantly a memorable villain, leaving an impression as he comes into the family and quickly befriends everyone including his namesake, Teresa Wright's Charlotte "Charlie" Newton, a young girl who takes it upon herself to try and fix her family which she believes is falling apart.

Full of suspense and intrigue, the master of mystery has done it again. Despite being made in 1943 Shadow of a Doubt holds up well with most modern thrillers for the most part, and the similarities to Adam Wingard's brilliant thriller The Guest can be found in its structure. Of course The Guest isn't at the level of Shadow of a Doubt, but they're both great films, the former being by far the more violent. Here Shadow of a Doubt does an excellent job at building the tension, because despite Charlie falling under the sway of her Uncle too easily, she soon manages to put the pieces together. The film quickly picks up a notch going forward, with Hitchcock doing his best to keep the audience alert throughout the film.

It's easy to see why Shadow of a Doubt is Hitchcock's own personal favourite film of his filmography. It's rich, well layered, full of terrific acting, particularly by Cotten and Wright, and the direction too is Hitchcock in his prime. The score too only adds to the terrific atmosphere and the film looks amazing as well, creating a fantastic backdrop to how the events play out before us.

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