Shadow of a Doubt
1943 | Drama | 108 minutes | English
Charlotte (Charlie) Newton is a precocious bored teenager living in Santa Rosa California. One day she receives the wonderful news that her favorite Uncle Charlie is coming for a visit. At first everyone is excited about the visit: Uncle Charlie gives his niece an emerald ring she loves even though it has someone else’s initials engraved inside. He tells Charlie’s father, Joseph Newton, a banker, that he’s going to open a bank account with an initial deposit of $40,000. But soon things begin to crack about Uncle Charlie. Detectives start hanging around the house telling Charlie that her uncle is suspected of being the “Merry Widow Murderer.” The uncle hides a newspaper clipping about a widow who was murdered. Charlie notices that the murdered woman was a rich widow and had an emerald ring with the same initials engraved as the one her uncle gave her. At a family dinner, Uncle Charlie shocks everyone by expounding about the useless lives of rich, lazy widows. Realizing he’s been exposed, Uncle Charlie decides to flee California. As he boards the train with the rich widow, Mrs. Potter, Charlie pursues him and enters his compartment. Both Charlie and her uncle know that one of them is not going to survive.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Metacritic Score: 95
Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Writing, Original Story
National Board of Review: Winner, Best Actress (Teresa Wright)
The film received a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score
The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant
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Hitchcock’s discovery of darkness within the heart of small-town America remains one of his most harrowing films, a peek behind the facade of security that reveals loneliness, despair, and death. SHADOW of a DOUBT is Hitchcock’s first indisputable masterpiece.
Alfred Hitchcock is bringing in another bumper crop of blue-ribbon shivers and chills in SHADOW of a DOUBT. The way Mr. Hitchcock folds suggestions very casually into the furrows of his film, the way he can make a torn newspaper or the sharpened inflection of a person’s voice send ticklish roots down to the subsoil of a viewer’s anxiety, is a wondrous accomplishment.
Still reeling after having seen this film, I do not want to spoil a moment of it for anyone else. I can only tell you that it is a brilliant Alfred Hitchcock melodrama. No doubt about this one—it’s tops.
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