7.9/10
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Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

PG | | Thriller | 15 January 1943 (USA)
Trailer
1:23 | Trailer
A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Thornton Wilder (screenplay), Sally Benson (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Teresa Wright ... Charlie Newton
Joseph Cotten ... Charlie Oakley
Macdonald Carey ... Jack Graham
Henry Travers ... Joseph Newton
Patricia Collinge ... Emma Newton
Hume Cronyn ... Herbie Hawkins
Wallace Ford ... Fred Saunders
Edna May Wonacott Edna May Wonacott ... Ann Newton
Charles Bates ... Roger Newton
Irving Bacon ... Station Master
Clarence Muse ... Pullman Porter
Janet Shaw ... Louise Finch
Estelle Jewell Estelle Jewell ... Catherine
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Storyline

Charlotte "Charlie" Newton is bored with her quiet life at home with her parents and her younger sister. She wishes something exciting would happen and knows exactly what they need: a visit from her sophisticated and much travelled Uncle Charlie Oakley, her mother's younger brother. Imagine her delight when, out of the blue, they receive a telegram from Uncle Charlie announcing that he is coming to visit them for awhile. Charlie Oakley creates quite a stir and charms the ladies' club, as well as the bank President where his brother-in-law works. Young Charlie begins to notice some odd behavior on his part, such as cutting out a story in the local paper about a man who marries and then murders rich widows. When two strangers appear asking questions about him, she begins to imagine the worst about her dearly beloved Uncle Charlie. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

TERROR Warning Her To Kill... Or BE KILLED See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shadow of Doubt See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The waltz tune is Franz Lehár's "the Merry Widow." Decades later, this melody would also appear repeatedly in Heaven Can Wait (1978) as the tune that Warren Beatty's character is frequently practicing on his soprano sax. The nickname of the killer, as mentioned in the newspaper article, is the Merry Widow killer. The song was written for The Merry Widow; a musical play that debuted in 1905. This was based on an 1861 comedy play in which various would-be matchmakers try to find a suitor for a wealthy widow, with the intent that the marriage keep the money in the country so that the vying matchmakers could profit from it. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie and Charlotte are waiting to cross the street a young boy in the crowd is standing immediately behind them. After they cross the street the same boy, wearing different clothes, comes around the corner and passes them. See more »

Quotes

Uncle Charlie: I can't face the world in the morning. I must have coffee before I can speak.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Living Famously: Alfred Hitchcock (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Merry Widow Waltz
(1905) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Lehár
In the score throughout the movie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Hitchcock's first masterpiece
7 November 2006 | by faraaj-1See all my reviews

Shadow of a Doubt is perhaps Hitchcock's first real masterpiece - a more mature film than The 39 Steps or Rebecca. It is also incidentally his favorite of his own films. The sleepy town of Santa Rosa is far removed from the very real events of WW-2, events that figured at least a mention if not a central influence on most films of that period. Hitchcock's Rear Window and Vertigo were also far removed from the realities of the Cold War and the Communist Witch-Hunts of the 50's.

Shadow is taut with sexual tension - the incestuous overtones of the mental affinity of niece and uncle Charlie, the lusty infatuations of Charlie's teenage friend Catherine, and Herb, who just happens to be around the corner where ever we see Charlie. Charlie, the niece, is played by Teresa Wright in one of Hitchcock's best female performances. She is very warm, innocent and genuinely good-natured - completely unlike Hitch's usual icy blonds. I have always found Joseph Cotten to be quite inexpressive. He is slightly better than his usual self and is believable in charming and winning over the small town-folk.

This is probably Hitchcock's only film with a strong human core, coupled with his well-known skills as a master technician. What other director of the era could have revealed the murderer at the start of the film and still maintained tension and a lingering unease throughout. Shadow of a Doubt is a precursor to the menace of Blue Velvet and the sexual tensions of American Beauty - and stays with you much longer than either of them.


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