Shadow of a Doubt - 1943
Joseph Cotton, Teresa Wright
I had the misfortune of reading a synopsis of "Rebecca" and "Suspicion," which meant that I was let down by the twists at the end and was not impressed by the ending. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoyed "Shadow of a Doubt" so much more -- I learned my lesson. I also think the suspense is so much better. Deep down the viewer knows that Cary Grant can't be a murderer, and the studio comes through by affirming those thoughts. The lesser known Joseph Cotten, however, leaves a viewer in doubt as to whether or not he is bad as the female lead thinks him to be. The other thing that "Shadow of a Doubt" has going for it is the fact that you don't know what Uncle Charlie has done, what it is that he is running away from. Cary Grant is always talking about the perfect murder and Olivier's wife is dead, so it is easy to figure out the skeleton in his closet.
When the crime is revealed, AH keeps the story moving by keeping the viewer wondering two things: Is Uncle Charlie really a reformed criminal, and later, is he going to get away with it? Cotten has the smirk of Cary Grant, but without the looks, which give his character more of an overall smarmy appearance.
A film of note also for the screenplay written by playwright Thornton Wilder.