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"Shadow of a Doubt" by Alfred Hitchcock

It takes place at a subtler level, largely in the psychology of young Charlie. She assumes the role of scapegoat for the rest of her family in order to protect them, especially her mother. Her father and his friend represent a comic illustration of the assumption of guilt--they are always devising methods for murder as an exercise and would never carry one out, no matter how bloodthirsty they manage to sound. Young Charlie discovers quite by accident that her Uncle Charlie does carry out such murders, and the knowledge binds her to his crimes because she wants never to have to reveal them to her mother.

The audience was made to feel great sympathy for the murderer, and to some extent shared the girl's regard for him, yet knowing as she did that she must destroy him.

This is another source of guilt for young Charlie--she cares for Uncle Charlie and yet knows that he must be punished for what he has done. She also knows that in some way she will be instrumental in causing that punishment. No matter what she does, she will hurt someone she loves, even if she does nothing at all.

Shadow of a Doubt differs from most Hitchcock films in its setting, but this setting adds to the effect of the film by making this truly close to home for most viewers. This film is set in a small town where nothing ever happens, and into this town comes the unpredictable evil of Uncle Charlie. Hitchcock shows in his films that there is always a good deal of turmoil and criminality beneath the surface, and he sets his "crimes" in sunny places rather than in old dark houses for the most part. He shows that evil can come into any setting and that complacency can be upset at any time. This film starts in the city where evil is expected, but it soon moves to the small town setting and builds a picture of life in this sunny corner of California before the evil of the city intrudes in the form of Uncle Charlie. This family is one that never expects to...

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"Shadow of a Doubt" by Alfred Hitchcock. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:50, August 24, 2017, from
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