Re: New Regime Poll #2: Hitchcock's Best of the Rest
Robert Holloway wrote:
I voted for 39 Steps and Strangers
Hitchcock would have voted for Shadow of a Doubt
Because it's his personal favorite of all his movies
Crucial reading for all fans and maybe the best book ever published about movieshttp://www.amazon.com/Hitchcock-Revised ... 0671604295
Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Hitchcock's personal favourite of all his films and the second of the early Universal films, was about young Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Teresa Wright), who suspects her beloved uncle Charlie Oakley (Joseph Cotten) of being a serial murderer. Critics have said that in its use of overlapping characters, dialogue, and closeups it has provided a generation of film theorists with psychoanalytic potential, including Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek. Hitchcock again filmed extensively on location, this time in the Northern California city of Santa Rosa, California, during the summer of 1942. The director showcased his own personal fascination with crime and criminals when he had two of his characters discuss various ways of killing people, to the obvious annoyance of Charlotte.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
The statement that Shadow of a Doubt is Hitchcock’s personal favourite originates from the book-length interview of Hitchcock by Francois Truffault, which is well worth reading. However, from Hitchcock’s statement in the interview itself it isn’t clear at all whether he simply meant that making Shadow of a Doubt was his favourite movie-making experience (apparently, he was a good friend of Joseph Cotton). Also, the part of the interview which contains this statement was conducted in 1962. Hitchcock made quite a few films afterwards, such as The Birds or Marnie, which he might have liked more.
I don't think so. There's more to his enjoyment of Shadow of a Doubt than just his friendship with Joseph Cotten (who's great in the film, actually). Hitchcock wrote a number of the speeches given that probably reflected some of his own personal opinions, including the one in the bar. There's also the pervasive theme of doubles, supporting his idea of the duality of nature. There's two Charlies (two candy mountains?), two detectives, two encounters with that cop dude, and so on. This is also evident in the filmmaking and screenplay, as certain camera angles will be used twice and certain lines of dialogue will be spoken twice.
Then there's the extended shot of the waltzers in the beginning, which later appears once or twice more as a transition or something. It's an interesting way to break the fourth wall, or at the very least be artsier than he normally is. Perhaps he's alluding to the opera featured in the film, but there's something about that low angle shot of these people blissfully dancing in a room where they won't be judged. I hearken back to the beginning of Mulholland Drive.
I get the impression that while Hitchcock may have enjoyed shooting Shadow of a Doubt, he really did think it was his favorite. He's wrong, certainly, but a man's entitled to his opinion. Given that there might be more of his personality and experiences in Shadow than in his other works, it's not so much of a stretch.
I chose Strangers on a Train, but if we ignore its presence, then I suppose I'd choose Shadow of a Doubt. I don't know, though. I'll be seeing Rope and The 39 Steps in the next few weeks.