Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Shadow of A Doubt Review

"Shadow of A Doubt" (1943) Blu Ray 
Turn back the clock to 1943, and you will have a different view of Hollywood. Movies didn’t always rely on explosions and cheap tricks to get you entertained. They featured strong performances from actors, great lighting, camera tricks, and professional writers that knew what they were doing. Of course this is a classic in many people’s views, and it was nominated for an Academy Award because of it. "Shadow of A Doubt" is a movie that was directed by the master of suspense and horror, Alfred Hitchcock. It stars Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotton, Macdonald Carey, and Patricia Collinge.

The plot of this one is simple, Charlotte Newton is stuck in a boring town, and gets the news that her uncle is going to come to town. Set in Santa, Rosa California, this seems like a simplistic plot. A young woman is getting a visit from her uncle and that’s it, right? Nope. Her Uncle is hiding something, but what? It turns out that he is a slasher, and she worries that she may be his next victim. Over the course of the 108 minutes of this movie, she unravels a case against him, and eventually confronts him.

The movie here is going to be boring to many. Remember, this is 1943 in which the film was released and you are not going to get the modern fast paced story telling. There’s a lot of dialogue and push forward to give a sense of suspense. Even though there are some marks of horror, you’re going to find that this is a straightforward thriller, with a slow progression that tightens towards the climax. The final moments carry over into an epilogue that has a sense of finality, but overall, you find a standard suspense film. Is Uncle Charlie a killer? Is Charlotte just worried for nothing? You find it through the sequences that Hitchcock masterfully puts together.

Visually this movie is good, with cinematographer Joseph A. Valentine doing a great deal of work to make this story come to life. I find it refreshing to see Charlotte as a strong female lead, and not just running around screaming for her life as a killer is on the loose. She has resolve, and is a feminist heroine that most people skip over when thinking about horror and suspense.

Overall, this is an instant classic. You have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it, however. It’s in black and white, it’s somewhat slow to start, and definitely requires your full attention to get the work that Hitchcock pushes through. You may not like it. However, if you’re a fan of the classics, this is a great one to sit back and enjoy. They remade this one as “Step Down To Terror” in 1958, but this one is better, in my opinion.

Pick up “Shadow of a Doubt” on Blu Ray if you know what’s good for you. Otherwise, stay in the dark and never learn just how good Hitchcock was as a director.

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