In the vast filmography of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Shadow of a doubt (Shadow of a Doubt) was his favorite. Perhaps because it symbolizes the quintessence of this fuzzy area that separates good from evil, innocence from guilt. This between two who will never stop to haunt the master of suspense.
When he began the realization of The SHADOW Of A DOUBT, Alfred Hitchcock was already thirty-four feature films to his credit including five in his american period. If the developer is still seeking to impose itself in spite of a few successes (Rebecca, Corresponding to 17, Suspicion), and in particular the great success of The Fifth Column (1942), it is on the advice of Margaret McDonnell , who worked with the tycoon David Selznick, as the project launches. For the one who likes to imagine the horror regular at hand, the opportunity is beautiful. Imagine the little Charlie (Teresa Wright), a young woman a bit of a rebel stuck in Santa Rosa, the kind of small town where people know each other and leave the door open without worrying about anything. The quiet reign but the arrival of Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten), for whom the young woman deploys an admiration without terminal will change the game. This admiration turns little by little to the concern when the frozen smile of the newcomer, and his undeniable charm, let have a presentiment of a heavy secret. And in fact, our friend does not merely appeal to wealthy ladies, preferably widows…
From this point of departure classic but ideal to spread out its battery of vices and temptations viscous, Hitchcock is going to have some fun égrainer the clues pointing to the wrong (a piece of newspaper extracts, which are repeated ” The Merry Widow “), of sowing the disorder up to the stage, memorable, family dinner, during which this dear Uncle, spreads over all the evil he thinks of women and particularly of widows rich. The camera machiavellian is subjective, adopts the point of view of young Charlie, gliding slowly across the face of Joseph Cotten , who describes these women as ” horrible, coarse and faded “. When his niece he replies that they are human beings, he replies curtly ” are they really ? “. Atmosphere.
This sequence summarizes with it only the problems of the film. The underlying fascinating that envelope the story. The admiration of a young woman for an uncle whose humanity wild the moral of the story, necessary in 1943, but paradoxically ambiguous because Hitchcock hated the facility, gives The SHADOW Of A DOUBT the artifacts of film balancing act : his inevitable cameo, a sense of humor so british, winks, autobiographical (most of the names are from his own family), and the recurring theme of the evil, the danger lurked at the heart of the house (The Lodger, Psycho, Rebecca). Better, by playing with the Code to Hays , who censored so the number of films and restrained to a representation ultra lightweight with sex and violence, Hitchcock joined a few colleagues malignant (John Huston, Elia Kazan, Joseph Mankiewicks, Billy Wilder), advancing camouflaged on these subjects. Sexual impotence supposed protagonist to explain his crimes (the image of the cane to the railway station) to the forbidden incest for a niece in full spleen post-adolescent and who has the same first name as him.
The film then becomes pernicious. Contaminated. The young woman moved from the other side of the mirror with a crash. Alfred Hitchcock films such procrastination with relish. Romantic exacerbated when uncle likes to spend an engagement ring on the finger of his niece, and a staggering vapidity for the marriage proposal of Jack, the police officer is too smooth and without interest. As the two sides of the same coin. Two partners in a macabre dance between good and evil. Still.
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• Production : Alfred Hitchcock
• Screenplay : Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, Alma Reville, Gordon McDonell
• Main actors : Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright
• Release Date : 1943
• Duration : 1h48min