Shadow of a Doubt, based on story by Gordon McDonell
Alfred Hitchcock has been venerated as the ultimate, accomplished author of films, with supporters dismissing the role of other members of the film crew- actors, cinematographers, writers.
Nevertheless, the winner of two Academy Awards, the phenomenal writer William Goldman explains in his quintessential book on Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade, that this is wrong.
Indeed, after he was so much admired and raised to a pedestal, William Goldman argues that Alfred Hitchcock has started making lesser films, and other members of the production team are just as important as the director.
Examples range from archetypal materials used for classic films, to the critical, paramount importance of special effects for features like Jaws and the role played by music, composed by Vangelis in this particular case, for motion pictures like Chariots of Fire.
Alfred Hitchcock was infamous for the disregard with which he looked at actors and his view seemed to be shared by other great directors- Jean-Luc Godard expresses the view that actors are stupid, in the recent, formidable Godard Mon Amour aka Le Redoutable.
Teresa Wright plays the role of the heroine, Charlie Newton, a young woman who has so many Signature or Character Strengths:
Courage- Integrity, Vitality, Perseverance, Bravery-Humanity- Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence, Transcendence- Appreciation of beauty and excellence, Hope, Gratitude, Humor, Spirituality, Temperance- Prudence, Pity/Forgiveness, Modesty/Humility, Self-regulation, Justice- Fairness, Leadership, Citizenship, Wisdom- Perspective, Curiosity, Open-mindedness, Creativity and Love of Learning
She is young and entertains dreams of an exciting, vibrant life, which alas not promised under the present circumstances, given that she lives in a small town, with little entertainment, predictable occurrences and not much out of the ordinary happening, never mind something incendiary…
Until uncle Charlie Oakley aka the very talented, protagonist in what is perhaps the best motion picture of all time- Citizen Kane-Joseph Cotton, arrives in town, adored by his older sister, who is Charlie’s mother.
Malcolm Gladwell is the quintessential psychologist of our time, author of the classics Outliers and Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking- he explains in the latter the importance that first impressions- which become stable opinions –have in our lives, professional and private.
One of the powerful arguments in favor of the “Theory of Thin Slicing” comes from the world of business, where interviews have been conducted and a study reveals extraordinary aspects at the top of the biggest companies in the world, listed on the Fortune 500 List.
The majority of the CEOs in the about two hundred companies researched are taller that the ordinary individual, but about one third are so tall that they represent only about three per cent in the population at large, at about 189 centimeters.
Which proves the point, for even if they have outstanding CVs, this is the case for the other competitors and it is clear that the separation if finally made by the first impression made when the exceptionally tall candidates enter the boardroom.
Charlie Oakley however seems to be the exception to the rule, one of those cases where the man gives the feeling that he is so nice, civilized, polite, educated, travelled, erudite, charming and in reality, as we get to learn him better, he not only shows a dark side, but he is actually a villain.
Investigators arrive in town, disguised as journalist intent on covering a story that would give them access in the Newton house, where they ask questions and move to the rooms upstairs, keen on getting more information on the man they suspect and eventually his photograph.
Uncle Charlie is determined to avoid the visitors and he would not have his photograph taken under any terms, he insists there is no picture of him, until his sister shows one, with him at the age of eight.
As the newspapermen take photographs, the weird Charlie Oakley comes in, a picture is taken and he insists on getting the negative, which he thinks he has; only it is reality sent to the station where witness that had seen the suspect of terrible murders could identify him or testify of his innocence.
Young Charlie Newton is worried at first, then she starts suspecting and she has a conversation with one of the detectives, Jack Graham, who explains what they think had happened and offers her the chance to make the relative leave town, to avoid embarrassment and suffering.
The heroine is torn between the knowledge that justice must be done, no matter who the culprit is, and the pain that she knows her mother would feel upon finding out about her cherished younger sibling, who starts trying to kill Charlie Newton, once he sees that the young woman knows what he has done and even found proof, in the form of jewelry from the killed woman.
In the known manner of the reputed, phenomenal Alfred Hitchcock, the plot is increasingly interesting, dramatic, with a dispute between murderer and those who try to get him that may go either way- he could escape, killing other innocents in the process, including his niece, or may be caught…