Review of Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Moving picture, 108 minutes

Alfred Hitchcock (director).

Seen in 2014.

The details, particularly the scene or reel transitions in the copy I saw, hold many clear signs that Hitchcock wasn’t able to exercise the control he could later on in his career. It looks to have been cut by the book, without his involvement.

The story is severely lacking in credibility, relying heavily on the audience’s paternalistic interest in the young Charlie’s sexual morality, for which she is predictably punished. The father figure and his friend are an interesting portrayal of nerds. Brain damage is offered as the explanation for Charles’ behaviour, and Charlie ultimately supposes he was unhappy, but there is no real attempt to go into the idea of guilt à la M (1931), nor are the obviously objectionable methods of the police meaningfully explored here in Hays Code country. It’s all quite flat as a result, and the score is terribly intrusive.

moving picture fiction