This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
DopeAssGhost’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943)
"A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be."
I can see why this psychological thriller is considered by many to be the definitive Hitchock film, especially by Alfred Hitchcock himself who deemed Shadow Of A Doubt as his personal favorite film out of all the films he's made in his vast filmography. Not a bonafide favorite for me personally, but definitely a great film in my eyes.
You've seen the story replicated and imitated hundreds of times, but this is the one that started it all: close relative comes to stay with distant family, turns out he's a murderer, and it's up to one of the family members who catches wise to his hidden serial killer to send the psycho packing. In the case of this film, Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (portrayed by the lovely Teresa Wright), the precocious small-town Californian teenage girl who idolized her uncle Charles Oakley (portrayed by Joseph Cotten) from New York, but comes to discover he's a prime suspect in the east coast for murders perpetrated by whom the press calls "The Merry Widow Murderer", a serial killer who kills rich widows. Uncle Charles and Charlie match wits with one another in a brilliantly scripted and directed thrill ride that's running abundantly with elements of film noir.
Everything you'd expect done right from Hitchcock is done phenomenally: meticulously crisp cinematography; ingenious lighting patterns; a tight suspenseful story; heightened tension; investful characters backed by superb acting talent; and certainly a few (if not minor) twists thrown in for reasonable measure. There's a fantastic sequence based all in dialogue, character reactions, and tension between Uncle Charles and Charlie that takes place in a seedy bar, where they confront one another on what they both know about eachother.
I have to admit this film does take awhile to get going. There's a great opening that establishes mood and what the story will be aiming towards, but from the time Uncle Charles arrives to say a solid half hour after his arrival, we simply get admittance to family dynamics and 1940's vibes. Not that that's a criticism exactly, I just think it could've omitted some things to keep the viewer reminded of why we're here and what we're in for. I know that might come off a bit odd, but that's just how I feel.
Shadow Of A Doubt is without a shadow of a doubt a genuine classic that deserves intense recognition!