Shadow Of A Doubt (1943 – DVD)

“We’re not talking about killing people, herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him”

I was more attracted to watch 1943’s ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ by the presence of actor and Orson Welles alumnus, Joseph Cotten than by it being Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The premise of it is that an American family gets a visit from a much loved but estranged uncle who may or may not be a serial killer. As federal agents track his moves, his once adoring niece (Teresa Wright) begins to suspect him.

Cotten squeezes every ounce of creepy, murderous charm out of his character. His scenes are electric as every smile or comment is imbued with a possible menace. Hitchcock always one who delights at finding perversion everywhere he looks, hints at incestuous feelings between uncle and niece.  The only bum note is the the twee burgeoning romance between the niece and the Federal agent which feels like an afterthought. But fortunately the action soon switches back to the murderous intrigue that always peaks Hitchcock’s main interest. Brilliant support is offered by Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn as kooky neighbours that plan (But never carry out) murders as a hobby. ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ isn’t in the same league as Hitchcock’s later thrilling 50s and 60s Hollywood blockbusters but it certanly ranks alongside ‘Rope’ as the very best of his earlier career.

See if the chilling look Cotten shoots the camera in this scene doesn’t shit you up!:

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