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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Arts Recommends

Published: December 2, 2011
Section: Arts, Etc.

‘Shadow of a Doubt’

Alfred Hitchcock’s later masterpieces like “Psycho,” “Vertigo” and “North by Northwest” usually get the lion’s share of attention when discussing his oeuvre, but to ignore his earlier films is to deprive oneself of some great filmmaking. Among the best is 1943’s “Shadow of a Doubt.”

Teenager Charlie Newton (Teresa Wright) is bored with life in her idyllic small town when her Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) arrives for a visit. They’ve always been close—they share a name, after all—and his visit rejuvenates her. Or at least it does until a young detective (Macdonald Carey) arrives and tells her that Uncle Charlie may be the notorious Merry Widow Murderer, leaving her unsure what to do.

“Shadow of a Doubt” shows that evil can lurk even in the most idyllic of environments; no matter how perfect young Charlie’s family is, it cannot escape evil’s touch. Wright and Cotten both turn in superb performances that emphasize the Freudian ickiness that accompanies their closeness. As for good ole Hitch, he of course remains the master of suspense.

sean fabery, editor