Gooooood evening. In this months episode of Presenting Hitchcock, Cory and Aaron unweave a wicked web as they discuss “Shadow of a Doubt”.


A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

The Picture:

Picture Title: Shadow of a Doubt
Written by:
Screenplay- Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville (Hitch’s wife)
From the original story by Gordon McDonnell
Starring: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Henry Travers, Patricia Collinge, Hume Cronyn and Wallace Ford
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Year Released: 1943

Our Favourite Trivia:

DIRECTOR CAMEO: On the train to Santa Rosa, California playing cards. He has the entire suit of spades in his hand, including the symbolic Ace.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock often said that this was his favorite movie. He said that part of why he considered this to be his favorite movie was that he loved the idea of bringing menace to a small town. In a 1959 interview, Teresa Wright said that this was her favorite movie.

The project began when the head of David O. Selznick’s story department, Margaret McDonell, told Sir Alfred Hitchcock that her husband Gordon had an interesting idea for a novel that she thought would make a good movie. His idea, called “Uncle Charlie”, was based on the true story of Earle Leonard Nelson, a mass murderer of the 1920s known as “The Gorilla Man”.

Teresa Wright did not read the script before agreeing to sign on for this movie. Sir Alfred Hitchcock described the plot to her in a meeting, and she agreed to take on the part immediately.

Theatrical movie debut of Hume Cronyn (Herbie Hawkins).

Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted William Powell to play Uncle Charlie, but MGM refused to lend the actor for this movie. He also considered Cary Grant but the role went to Joseph Cotten.

The name “Charlie” is spoken approximately one hundred seventy times.

The producers assigned scouts to find an appropriate house to serve as a setting for this movie in Santa Rosa, where this movie was to be shot on-location. Sir Alfred Hitchcock had provided specific instructions that the house was to be nice, but somewhat worn-down to emphasize the Newton family’s middle class background. The scouts selected the house which appears in the movie, and Hitchcock was delighted by the photographs of their selection. The house was well-built with both a charming interior and exterior. However, it was an older house that was slightly out of fashion at the time, needed a few cosmetic repairs, had a bit of an overgrown lawn and garage area, and the exterior painting was faded and chipped. Hitchcock believed that the expensive and sturdy, but weathered and worn, look to the house would give the suggestion that the Newton family could be anyone, just the average American family in any average American town. Hitchcock gave the scouts the authority to rent the house from its owners as a temporary filming location, much to the owners’ pride and delight. He was horrified, however, when he appeared at the house to begin filming. The owners, excited by the prospect of a major movie being shot at their house, had freshly painted the entire house, manicured the lawn, and made a few repairs to the exterior. Hitchcock had to have his effects team artificially age the wear to the house and shoot around the owners’ most-effective recent renovations.

Edna May Wonacott (Ann Newton) and Estelle Jewell (Catherine) were locals of Santa Rosa, where this movie was shot on-location. Many of the extras were also locals of the town, which was too far away from Hollywood to be affected by Actors Guild guidelines demanding the use of professional actors and actresses.

Included among the American Film Institute’s 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.

The Random Draw for Next Picture:

Next up, we’ll be discussing “Family Plot” (1976)

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