Title: Shadow of a Doubt
Release Date: January 12, 1943
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production Company: Skirball Productions
Shadow of the Doubt answers the question “what if a noir thriller crashed in a family sitcom?” Joseph Cotten is Charles Oakley, a man on the run, who decides to lay low with the family of his sister, Ann Newton (Edna May Wonacott), in Santa Rosa, California. There he is reunited with his teenage niece and namesake Charlie (Teresa Wright), who adores him. Over time Uncle Charlies strange behavior and the arrival of detectives makes Charlie suspect that her uncle is the Merry Widow Murderer.
Unlike Suspicion, the plot is never ambiguous about Uncle Charlie’s guilt, so its more of a story of what Charlie can discover and if she can avoid becoming a victim herself. Amidst the noir thriller bits there’s a lot of comic family squabble and a romantic comedy as Charlie is wooed by one of the detectives (Macdonald Carey). Teresa Wright positively shines in this movie, which was her first top-billing, and it makes me wonder why she didn’t become a bigger star. Joseph Cotten, who I’ve liked in other films, seems to be mailing it in on this one.