Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hitchcock's favorite...

of his own films:
Young Charlie (played by Teresa Wright) lives with her "average American family" in the small town of Santa Rosa. The type of place where people leave their front doors unlocked and everyone knows everyone. Life is pretty quiet but excitement arrives when successful, enigmatic relative Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) comes to stay.

Young Charlie's idolisation of her uncle slowly turns to suspicion as she gets the feeling that there might be a secret behind his smile. Hitchcock keeps proceedings deliberately ambiguous, spoon-feeding us clues: a missing newspaper clipping here, a recurring hummed tune there …

The film's best scene takes place around the dinner table where Uncle Charlie tells the family what he thinks about women, specifically rich widows. Seen from young Charlie's point of view, the camera slowly creeps in on his face as he describes them as "horrible, fat, fading women". "But they're alive, they're human beings," she replies. Uncle Charlie turns and looks directly down the camera lens: "Are they?" ....

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