December 17, 2006
Shadow of a Doubt, the cleverly titled film of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s first infamous suspense thrillers, displays many techniques that have been mastered to perfection over the career of this famous director. Shadow of a Doubt is the warped story about a young woman from an average American home who becomes haunted by the double life of her uncle, who possesses the same name, “Charlie”. The film creates suspense in classic Hitchcock manner by using proper camera techniques, character development, and music to suggest a scary or creepy atmosphere that has invaded the average small hometown of everyday friendly people.
There are many techniques used in this film that can be found in other Hitchcock films of the same genre. For example, the interruptions in dialogue are constantly prevalent, especially from the overly intelligent children in the Newton family. Also, the use of high and low angles as well as shadows revolving around a common staircase is also widely used to suggest different intentions of the characters in the film. The camera placement of the detectives chasing down a shady unknown Charlie character is effective, as well as the typical Hitchcock filming locations of the bedrooms, the train, the dinner table, and the staircases. The music is used in the beginning of the story as very slowed down and in an almost classical and low pitched, slow paced manner to suggest the monotony of everyday life in a small town. The music and images are coupled best I personally think in the very quickly dissolved and well placed intermittent cuts of the classical black and white ballroom dancing, representing mens Hitchcockian type control over a women that they have when they are dancing with her. However, as the plot advances and the characters become more aware of Uncle Charlie’s background and possible intentions, the music is set at a faster and harder pace to suspend the thrill of the...