Homage to Hitchcock - Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Let’s get the pig pile over with now. After Rebecca, Hitchcock directed a movie, Foreign Correspondent, Academy Award for Best Picture.
Re-cut several times to incorporate events from WWII, and every time a filmmaker does this, it turns into what a horse would look like if a committee put it together … a camel.
So, it ain’t a top 20. Top 25? Yes. But this Homage to Hitchcock is top 20, and it does NOT make the list.
But Shadow of a Doubt? Now, we’re talkin’.
One of Hitch’s greatest bad guys is Uncle Charlie, played with razor-sharp and insidious evil by Joseph Cotton, who should have won Best Actor for his performance. Jimmy Cagney? Yankee Doodle Dandy? Really?
To the plot.
Cotton’s lean viciousness, understated in a veil of passive intent, escapes the police in San Francisco after murdering another middle-aged woman. He’s been dubbed “The Merry Widow Murderer,” by the police, who are hot on his trail.
Uncle Charlie makes his way to his sister’s house in Santa Rose, a small, sleepy town (at the time) in Northern California. His niece, played by Theresa Wright, is named Charlie, in homage to her uncle. The viewer has to assume that the family had no idea the man was a serial killer. Let’s suspend that proverbial disbelief.
While hiding out in his sister’s house, Charlie’s niece figures out that her beloved uncle has been offing unsuspecting widows for a while now. She does this, reluctantly, with the help of a detective played by MacDonald Carey.
Uncle Charlie, though, is onto his niece being onto him. He flees to San Francisco, where there is an excellent chase from a seedy bar to a cable car. Don’t want to give away the ending, since the movie holds up so well.
Please watch this before Foreign Correspondent, or watch both the same night and tell me which is the superior film.
Lifeboat (1944) is next … as is another pig pile.