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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Maybe I was having a bad day but I simply wasn't wowed by Shadow of a Doubt which has been hailed by every critic as a classic.  It was also Hitchcock's favorite film that he directed.  Therefore I know I'm standing on shaky ground by saying that while this film was well made, it was just O.K.

Here's why...most of the female leads employ an acting style that was prevalent in the 1940's but totally drives me nuts: rapid, over-annunciated speech with more emotion in it than is necessary.  This film would have been so much better if the ladies just spoke like normal human beings.  I couldn't get beyond this flaw to enjoy the film.  Thankfully, it toned down a bit toward the end of the film but it was too little, to late.  The little girl was particularly "precocious" and I don't mean that as a compliment.  I was hoping she would be dispatched early in the film so I didn't have to hear her obnoxious voice anymore.

Secondly, Shadow of a Doubt is always referred to as an intense and suspenseful thriller.  Did I miss something?  Give me The Wolf Man (1941) or Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941) over Shadow of a Doubt.  I found the first half of the film to be a bit of a yawner.  It was only when the killer began to show his true colors that things got interesting.

Speaking of killers, the bright spot of Shadow of a Doubt was definitely Joseph Cotton [Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Abominable Dr Phibes] whose films I admire.  I'm amazed he wasn't a huge star because he's such a great actor.  He imbues his character Uncle Charlie with charm and refinement and then subtly lets the character's dark side show.  This was a great role for Cotton and he totally hits it out of the ballpark.

So, I have to give this a Good and stand as the only person I've come across who was underwhelmed by this film.  Give me Psycho or The Birds over Shadow of a Doubt any day!

RATING: Good.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you. It was good, but not great, and there are any number of Hitchcock films that I would rewatch before this one. The highlight for me, though, was the relationship between Joe and Herb--their ramblings and theories about true crime are the equivalent of the conversations that many horror fans today have about their beloved genre.

    My review (if you're interested)
    --J/Metro

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