Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt; crime drama, USA, 1943; D: Alfred Hitchcock, S: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Henry Travers, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Hume Cronyn, Edna May Wonacott

Philadelphia. The mysterious Charlie Oakley spots from his apartment two men observing him. He manages to escape them and leaves for the little Californian city Santa Rose to visit his sister Emma and her family, among them even her teenage daughter Charlotte nicknamed 'Charlie' on him. She adores her uncle and enjoys his stay at her place, but then she meets a detective who tells her that Charlie might be the wanted widow murderer. Charles tries to kill her, but falls from the train and dies.

Multi-layered crime drama "Shadow of a doubt", which Alfred Hitchcock considered one of his favorite movies, was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay which offered a subversive story that squeezed out suspense and intrigue factor there where nobody expected it, in everyday life in a small town. Considering how many misguided movies exist, it is wonderful to see authors who know exactly what they want to do and how that needs to be done in order to craft a successful film, even though some wrongly categorized it as a thriller. Namely, "Shadow" is actually a drama filled with many emotions, mostly with admiration, a story about fallen idols, from the clever exposition where first Charlie, and then in a later scene his niece Charlotte 'Charlie' are introduced lying on their beds and stare at the window in almost identical fashion in order to emphasize that they are on the same 'brain length' and are almost identical up to her idealised speech directed towards him about how she "doesn't need anything besides him and how every gift from him is equally perfect" for her when he gives her a ring as a present. In the second half, the two of them split and divide into a good (Charlotte) and evil (Charlie) side, almost symbolizing Yin and Yang, which offered interesting character study and a lot of place for handling the theme of determining one's identity.


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