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SHADOW OF A DOUBT
1943, Universal, 108 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

What starts out as a charming portrait of idyllic small-town life gradually darkens into one of director Alfred Hitchcock’s most devastating thrillers. Teenager Teresa Wright’s romantic illusions about her beloved Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) gradually are shattered by the suspicion that he may be the diabolical Merry Widow serial killer. Add to the mix a rewardingly rich tapestry of eccentric characters (Henry Travers, Hume Cronyn and Patricia Collinge are standouts in the cast), and you have one of Hitchcock’s most brilliantly constructed films.


JOURNEY INTO FEAR
1943, RKO [Warner Bros.], 68 min, USA, Dir: Orson Welles, Norman Foster

Orson Welles reunited his Mercury Theatre colleagues for this shadowy and stylish adaptation of Eric Ambler’s tale of wartime intrigue. Joseph Cotten - who wrote the screenplay - plays an engineer pursued by a murderous Nazi agent, for reasons unknown, throughout the Near East. Drastically cut prior to release (with new scenes shot by Foster) the film remains a uniquely Wellesian exercise in cinematic style, dripping with atmosphere and outfitted with an array of colorful characters, including delicious Dolores Del Rio as a femme fatale chanteuse. “Welles and Del Rio together! As Terror Man vs. Leopard Woman! It’s menace melodrama thrilled with mighty mystery and suspense… See it!” Not on DVD!


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