Shadow of a Doubt

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Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville. It stars Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, MacDonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn.

Shadow of a Doubt was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story, Gordon McDonell. In 1991, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In his book Bambi vs. Godzilla, David Mamet calls it Hitchcock's finest film. Hitchcock sometimes told interviewers that the film was his personal favorite among his American films.

Contents

Plot

A bored teenager living in Santa Rosa, California, Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Wright), is frustrated because nothing seems to be happening in her life and that of her family. Then, she receives wonderful news: her uncle (for whom she was named), Charlie Oakley (Cotten), her mother's brother, is arriving for a visit.

Two men show up pretending to be photographers and journalists working on a national survey of the average American family. One of them speaks to Charlie privately, identifying himself as Detective Jack Graham (Macdonald Carey) and telling her that her uncle is one of two men who are suspected of being a serial killer known as the "Merry Widow Murderer". This murderer has a modus operandi of seducing, murdering and robbing wealthy widows.

Young Charlie at first refuses to even consider that her uncle could be a murderer, but she cannot help noticing him acting strangely on several occasions. She confirms her suspicions after seeing the initials on the engraving on the ring Uncle Charlie gave her match one of the recent victims of the killer. Particularly chilling is a family dinner conversation during which Uncle Charlie reveals his hatred of rich widows, comparing them to fat animals deserving of slaughter.

Young Charlie's growing suspicion soon becomes apparent to her uncle. He confronts her and admits that he is indeed the man the police are after. He begs her for help; she reluctantly agrees not to say anything, as long as he leaves soon, to avoid a horrible scandal in the town that would destroy her family, especially her mother, who idolizes her younger brother.

Then news breaks that the second suspect was killed fleeing from the police in Portland, Maine, and is assumed to have been the guilty one. The detective Graham leaves after telling Young Charlie that he loves her and would like to marry her someday. Uncle Charlie is delighted at first, until he remembers that Young Charlie fully knows his secret. Soon, the young woman has a couple of near fatal "accidents", falling down some very steep stairs at her home, and being trapped in a closed garage with a car spewing exhaust fumes.

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