Movie Review: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten.

Synopsis: Feeling her family is in a rut, Charlie Newton is thrilled to learn her mom's younger brother, Charlie (the man she was named after) is making a surprise visit. However, when Uncle Charlie arrives, he begins to act strangely. And, when two detectives also arrive, she begins to suspect her uncle is a wanted murderer.


I came across this film on one of our movie channels last night and, since I didn't have to go into work today, decided to record it so I could watch it at lunch. I have liked pretty much every Alfred Hitchcock movie I've ever watched and had high expectations about this one as a result. This movie more than lived up to those.

I think the thing I liked best about this movie was the mystery surrounding Uncle Charlie (Cotten). He was definitely acting suspiciously. But, being a Hitchcock film, I wasn't sure if he was really the killer or if he was hiding something completely different.

Not to mention, I wasn't really sure if he was really Charlie's (Wright) uncle or an impersonator. As the movie progressed, that became somewhat important, especially when she began pushing him. If he was really family, I wasn't sure if he would actually harm her if given the chance.

I was very impressed with the way the younger Charlie was written. As I've said in other reviews, I like movies with strong female leads and, as soon as Charlie became romantically interested in one of the detectives (Carey), I was afraid she'd end up playing second fiddle to him. However, she did an excellent job standing up for herself, even as she started to realize her life may be in danger, and that only added to the overall excitement.

I also loved how Hitchcock threw in some interesting supporting characters. Her father's (Newton) friend, Herbie (Hume Croyn), for example, was actually kind of creepy. The way he seemed to take so much joy in discussing ways to get away with murder did make me wonder, for a short while at least, if he would end up being the bad guy. I also found I had a hard time trusting the detectives because, after all, they were strangers to her town as well and could just as easily be lying about who they were.

Final Opinion

This is a great classic thriller that I genuinely enjoyed watching. I recommend taking the time to watch it if you have an opportunity to.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 02/19/2018, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 02/17/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
The library system here has this film among its DVD collections. I've seen it. Your review is helpfully interesting. It makes me intend to re-see the film since I hadn't considered the possibility (which wasn't the reality, but it's always helpful to consider all scenarios) of the detectives being other than they said. It'll be interesting to see what else I missed fhe first time around.

How would this fare as a re-make in color?

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