One of Hitchcock’s most innovative films is “Shadow of a Doubt” because of its plot and the fact that it feels like a family-drama movie as well as a suspenseful one like the ones that Hitchcock usually creates. Hitchcock is the master of suspense and it clearly shows this in this film and the two noticeable aspects of it that let us know that we are watching a Hitchcock film. These two aspects from “Shadow of a Doubt” I am referring to are the whodunit formula and the mystery aspects within it. The mystery aspects kick in right when the plot starts and when the whodunit formula is the kind of plot that the film has. While these two aspects of the film are elements of suspense, another one is the lighting. A good example of the suspenseful use of lighting is shown in the library scene here: . The lighting is shown with a good use of shadows on the walls, the doors, the staircase and the bedroom lamp as Charlie’s niece is getting ready to head to the library. Once Charlie’s niece arrives to the library and tries to find a way to get in, we see a much better and stronger use of lighting as well as shadows. The lighting in the back shows lights turned off and then turned back on which is shown through the windows of the library before she enters it. The light in the front part of the library turns on after Charlie’s niece knocks on the door. Hitchcock used a strong sense of lighting in this film and here it clearly shows that. Sooner or later she makes her way inside the library after an employee there lets her in and talks with her for a bit. Sooner or later Charlie’s niece asks where the newspaper section is at in the library and she gets guided to it and then she eventually finds the newspaper article which explains about the serial killer, who has been on the run for awhile now. After she learns this and it is later revealed that Uncle Charlie is the serial killer and main antagonist of this film. As all of these parts in the library scene are happening, the camera follows Charlie’s niece. Other aspects that make this film great would be the camera shots with characters going up and down staircases as the camera follows them. Speaking of which the staircase shots are a recurring theme of Hitchock's films as well as the suspense part of it and the psyanalysis and whodunit formula.
The whodunit formula mainly has a story that involves the main character who may or may not be the antagonist of the film’s story; these characters are males who are troubled in any sort of way to add a sense of shadiness to them to make you think they may or may be bad news. Some things that make these characters shady are how they act towards people around their loved ones or friends. Here’s an example: . We can tell by the tone of Charlie’s voice and by how he has acted in other scenes of the film that he is a shady character on the run from the authorities who are after him. In this scene Uncle Charlie talks bad about women like they are greedy, fat, shut-in individuals who leech off of their rich husbands. Right after he does this course of action, the mother of the household was shocked and had a shocked, upset looking face which tells us that she was a woman from that time that he were was referring to how women were like then. The same thing can be said about Charlie’s niece’s facial expressions as she looked to him like her mom did to show that she looks just as offended as her mother is. Uncle Charlie is very sneaky when it shows him hiding this aspect about himself to his family as well as avoids getting his picture taken in one scene. Another thing that Uncle Charlie does to hide the fact that he’s a serial killer is that he takes the newspaper article that is talking about his alternate serial killer identity and he makes a house of newspapers out of it, an example is shown here at 8:35 : . It is then revealed that this man is on the run from the first scene of the film where Uncle Charlie is being chased by the two police detectives and escapes from their pursuit of him. Uncle Charlie is on the run because unlike his past life with his niece which was good and dandy considering the quick glimpses of the past showing men dancing with their women. These past glimpses show that Uncle Charlie and his niece both used to have a happy life, it’s just that Uncle Charlie’s life turned out to go down a dark path as he became the serial killer in the film. An example is shown here: . Considering these Uncle Charlie is not an ordinary serial killer; he is also a charming person who can easily make you smile and laugh as well as make you like him by being kind to you. Uncle Charlie may seem to be kind and friendly, but these aspects about him are merely a disguise that he wears considering that he is the killer in the film. The sneaky aspect about him is something that’s really interesting to me because we all are sneaky at times and hides certain aspects as well as alternate identities about ourselves. We do not wish for our reputation to be tarnished as well as do not wish to lose anything or be put away because of it. We don’t want others to know about the secret aspects that we do have or don’t have. This idea aspect applies to the psychoanalysis part of “Shadow of a Doubt” which shows the duality concept of the two main characters: Uncle Charlie and his niece of the same. These two characters are like the twins also known as the yin and yang of each other. For you see, Uncle Charlie is the antagonist that symbolizes bad and evil, and his niece is the protagonist that symbolizes good and innocence. Uncle Charlie and his niece both have a duality complex they are mostly always together; they’re like magnets that can’t be separated. Charlie’s niece looks up to him and idolizes him a lot, while this is true but at times there seems to be some sort of romantic themes involved between Uncle Charlie and his niece. There are some examples that point towards this like in the scene where Uncle Charlie gives his niece a gift, as well as a ring and holds her hand out and puts it on her finger. This shows that there are some romantic feelings that Uncle Charlie has for his niece which could be considered sexual, but what is mostly considered sexual in this film is the fact that Charlie’s niece and the police detective are in love. The garage scene here shows it:
While Uncle Charlie and his niece are inseparable and love each other very much; there is one person that separates them. That person is the police detective that likes Charlie’s niece. The police detective separates Uncle Charlie and his niece from one another because he found out that Uncle Charlie is the serial killer that he and his partner have been searching for so they can arrest him. Charlie’s niece wants her uncle to go to jail considering she found out about the fact that he’s a serial killer as well as feels uncomfortable around him because of this fact. While Charlie’s niece is the protagonist of this film, she sometimes acts harsh like her uncle considering that she said to him that she would kill him if he continues to live with her and her family. Charlie also acts mean at times considering that she chose to find out her uncle’s serial killer alternate identity behind her uncle’s back in a sneaky fashion. This shows that she has almost as much of a dark side as her uncle, except she doesn’t kill people, she is just emotional, harsh and mean when she’s upset as well as still cares for her uncle but doesn’t like his serial killer identity. This aspect of the film makes it interesting gives the film a lot of substance just like its other aspects does.
When this film was released in theatres, it did really well and was given numerous positive reviews from critics. “Shadow of a Doubt” was one of Hitchcock’s films that went against the current trend and the way movies were made at the time of its release, an example of this is shown in the scene where Uncle Charlie and his niece go to a place to eat and they meet this waitress who is more of a working class person which is different from the types of jobs that working class women had during this film’s release. An example is shown here: . Its antagonist has charm, is respectful at times, has a good personality as well as a serial killer motive, its plot and suspense are utilized effectively as well as the suspenseful lighting in the library scene and the part where Little Charlie is getting ready to head to the library. Considering the aspects and substance that this film has, it was well received because of it. It’s a timeless classic nowadays that teaches us a bit about the duality complex that is contained within the film’s plot; this film also entertains us as it does this.


Camp, Jocelyn. "John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock." Literature Film Quarterly 6.3 (1978): 230. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2011.This article discusses how Alfred Hitchcock used literary sources to create his great films. It deals with literary source material, elements used by Hitchcock in his version of John Buchan's novel: "The Thirty-nine Steps." This article also compares Hitchcock's film of the novel called "North by Northwest" and the literary source for it.

Erish, Andrew A. "Reclaiming Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Quarterly Review of Film & Video 26.5 (2009): 385-392. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. This article showcases a literary criticism to the t.v. program called "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," which is directed by Alfred Hitchcock. This article examines the aspects of the director's t.v. career and emphasizes how the episodes compare and contrast from his motion picture work.

Genter, Robert. "“We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes”: Alfred Hitchcock, American Psychoanalysis, and the Construction of the Cold War Psychopath." Canadian Review of American Studies 40.2 (2010): 133-162. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. This article explains in depth about the psychopath character in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film called “Psycho.” This film is about a psychologically damaged young man connected with a much larger discussion over sexual and political deviance that took place in the early Cold War.

McDougal, Stuart Y. "Mirth, Sexuality and Suspense: Alfred Hitchcock's Adaptation of The Thirty-Nine Steps." Literature Film Quarterly 3.3 (1975): 232. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. This article takes in depth look at the mirth sexuality and suspense of Alfred Hitchcock’s film: “The Thirty-Nine Steps.” This article also discusses how Hitchcock has given the political aspect of it a sexual aspect that the novel of the same name is lacking.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock. (2010). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1. This article is all about Alfred Hitchcock and the development process of how he makes his films. It goes into detail and depth about Hitchcock and his films. – This website shows information about anything that you wish to learn about, it is used practically used by everyone who wishes to try to make it big on the as well as anyone who wishes to see videos of whatever they wish to see, it’s a big part of our culture as well as the internet. - This website talks all about yin and yang. It also discusses the philosophy of it and how it is relates to humanity.