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Harrison's Reports (1943) - Shadow of a Doubt




"Shadow of a Doubt" with Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten

(Universal, January 15; time. 108 min.)

A very good mystery drama. From the moment the picture starts until the very end, one remains engrossed in the proceedings, because of the mystifying plot and the interesting developments. Directing with his well-known flare for suspense, Alfred Hitchcock has made the most of the story, which deals with the adoration of a young small-town girl for her ingratiating big-city uncle, and the disintegration of this adoration when a web of circumstances slowly reveal to her that he is a maniacal killer wanted by the police. The action settles down to a battle of wits in which the uncle seeks to kill his niece to save himself, and the niece seeks to get him out of town lest her family, too, become disillusioned. The performances are very good :—

Seeking to elude detectives, Joseph Cotten journeys to the small-town home of Patricia Collinge, his sister, whose family, particularly Teresa Wright, her daughter, was extremely fond of him; his presence made them very happy. Detectives Macdonald Carey and Wallace Ford visit the town and, indicating that they were government men conducting a survey to find the average American family, ask Miss Collinge for permission to interview her family. She agrees, despite the objections of Cotten, who requests that he be left out of the interview. Cotten's strange behavior puzzles Teresa. That evening she keeps a date with Carey, and learns that he is a detective. Carey admits that he is shadowing Cotten, whom he suspected of murdering several wealthy widows. Teresa confirms this through newspaper clippings in a public library. Torn between her desire to see justice done, and her unwillingness to hurt her mother, Teresa asks Cotten to leave their home. Realizing that his sister's home furnished a perfect hideout for him, and that Teresa would not reveal him to his sister, Cotten refuses to leave. He makes several unsuccessful attempts on Teresa's life. Cotten finally decides to leave town. The family, including Teresa, accompanies him to the station where Teresa boards the train to show her younger sister and brother Cotten's drawing room. The children get off the train, but Cotten manages to detain Teresa as the train starts to move. He attempts to throw her off the platform, but, instead, he himself falls out, and is killed. Teresa retains her secret.

Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville wrote the screen play. Jack H. Skirball produced it, and Alfred Hitchcock directed it. The cast includes Henry Travers, Edna May Wonacott, Hume Cronyn, and others.

Adult entertainment.