The Original Thriller Was Shadow Of A Doubt Directed By Alfred Hitchcock

1564 words - 7 pages

Shadow of a Doubt is a thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock that was released in 1943. The film is about a normal family, named the Newton’s, who live in Santa Rosa, California. They receive an unexpected telegram that their Uncle Charlie is coming to visit. The family is excited, especially Charlie Newton who is the older daughter in the Newton family and even named after her Uncle. Coincidentally, when Charlie went down to the post office to make a telegram for her Uncle Charlie she found out he had already sent one himself that he was coming to town. Shortly after Uncle Charlie moves in things shift from joyful, to suspicious and eventually gloom. Two men show up claiming they want to ...view middle of the document...

The next day, Uncle Charles is exonerated out of sheer luck because an airplane propeller killed the other suspect the detectives were after. Then, Uncle Charlie tries to kill Charlie first by breaking the stairs and then by locking her in the garage with gas fumes and no key to turn the car off with. Thankfully, their strange neighbor Herb hears her cry for help and tells the family and she is saved. That same night, Uncle Charlie coincidentally leaves for San Francisco at the same time a rich widow is leaving. They walk Uncle Charlie to the train and as the train is about to leave Uncle Charlie grabs Charlie and won’t let her get off of the train. He grabs Charlie and tries to throw her into the oncoming train but as they struggle and tussle, she ends up throwing him into the train and he dies. Uncle Charlie’s secrets were never told to the public.
Mise-en-scene, which in French means, “what is put into the scene”, is shown throughout this classic noir film. One element of the mise-en-scene is costumes. As soon as the film began we saw Uncle Charles in bed, wearing a nice suit and smoking a cigar. The audience would probably infer him to be of the upper class and a wealthy man in that time period. Especially when we also see a shot of a bunch of money just lying on his dresser like it’s loose change to him. The Newton family also dressed nicely and Charlie’s father wore a suit, tie, and hat and we soon learn he’s a banker. The way the characters are dressed can give us an idea of their social status and what their role in the film may be. Body language and facial expressions is another element of mise-en-scene that is scene throughout. Take for example, when the family pick up Uncle Charlie from the train station, Charlie is overly excited and smiling, to the point where it is not normal. It is as if she is almost obsessed with her Uncle at the beginning, but that obviously changes quickly. We see the fear and worry in Uncle Charlie constantly. Take for example, the scene where Uncle Charlie gives Charlie the ring and his reaction that follows once he realizes it’s engraved with the widow’s name he killed. His eyes widen with nervousness, but he tries to play it off by saying the jeweler rooked him, and than becomes aggressive toward Charlie trying to take the ring back. He later does almost the exact same thing when Charlie walks in with a newspaper and he grabs her violently, but plays it off as though everything is fine. Furthermore, in the scene where Jack Graham and Charlie are in the shed talking they share a different type of moment. The detective makes Charlie laugh and they have a moment of eye contact showing their love for one another. When it came to the lighting, the movie already being black and white, and many scenes taking place at night, where you can see lots of shadows every time people walk by. Props are objects that have a purpose in the film rather than just a background piece. For example, the glass cup at the...

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