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Shadow of a Doubt

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Shadow of a Doubt

Friday the 13th of August

Hitchcock's 105th
Birthday Celebration

It seems to go crazy every now and then, like your Uncle Charlie.
--Det. Jack Graham (Macdonald Carey)

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USA: 1943 -- Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Thornton Wilder & Sally Benson & Alma Reville (Hitch's wife)
Starring Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright

I can't face the world in the morning. I must have coffee before I can speak.
--Joseph Cotten as Uncle Charlie


Alfred Hitchcock considered this 1943 thriller to be his personal favorite among his own films, and although it's not as popular as some of Hitchcock's later work, it's certainly worthy of the master's admiration. Scripted by playwright Thornton Wilder and inspired by the actual case of a 1920's serial killer known as "The Merry Widow Murderer," the movie sets a tone of menace and fear by introducing a psychotic killer into the small-town comforts of Santa Rosa, California. That's where young Charlie (Teresa Wright) lives with her parents and two younger siblings, and where murder is little more than a topic of morbid conversation for their mystery-buff neighbor (Hume Cronyn). Charlie was named after her favorite uncle, who has just arrived for an extended visit, and at first Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) gets along famously with his admiring niece. But the film's chilling prologue has already revealed Uncle Charlie's true identity as the notorious Merry Widow Murderer, and the suspense grows almost unbearable when young Charlie's trust gives way to gradual dread and suspicion. Through narrow escapes and a climactic scene aboard a speeding train, this witty thriller strips away the fašade of small-town tranquility to reveal evil where it's least expected. And, of course, it's all done in pure Hitchcockian style.

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a Merry Widow waltz.

Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright Cast of Shadow of a Doubt

Awards

Nominatd for an oscar for Best Writing, Original Story

Ranks #187 on the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Movies

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Memorable Quotes

Mrs. Poetter (Frances Carson) There's one good thing in being a widow, isn't there? You don't have to ask your husband for money.

Uncle Charlie: Women keep busy in towns like this. In the cities it's different. The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands dead, husbands who've spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women.

Young Charlie: We're not just an uncle and a niece. It's something else. I know you. I know you don't tell people a lot of things. I don't either. I have a feeling that inside you there's something nobody knows about... something secret and wonderful. I'll find it out.

Herbie Hawkins: He ran plunk right into the propeller of an airplane. Cut him all to pieces. Had to identify him by his clothes. His shirts were all initialed.

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Trivia

Director Alfred Hitchcock often said that this was his favorite film.

Edna May Wonacott, who plays young Ann Newton, and Estelle Jewell, who plays Charlie's friend, Catherine, were both locals of Santa Rosa, where the film was shot on location. Many of the film's extras were also locals of the town, which was too far away from Hollywood to be affected by Actors Guild guidelines demanding the use of professional actors.

The name of the waltz that is referred to throughout the film is "The Merry Widow Waltz".

More trivia


Goofs

Crew or equipment visible: When Young Charlie is reading the newspaper in the library, the camera casts a shadow on her back.

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Shadow of a Doubt original poster Shadow of a Doubt original poster