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Shadow of A Doubt

Shadow of A Doubt

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Published by James Duarte

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Published by: James Duarte on Sep 03, 2012
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09/03/2012

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James DuarteProfessor Steve Foster MCA 101 | Sec 4RS2September 25
h
, 2010Film analysis of 
Shadow of a Doubt 
The narrative film is embedded with the principles of storytelling. It is the plot that willconstruct the story by providing a pattern of development from the opening scene to the closingshot. Nevertheless it is the use of salient cinematic techniques by the director that dictates howthe film’s story will be most effectively portrayed. Stylistic analysis from pictures like that of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1943 film
Shadow of a Doubt 
demonstrates, from its distinct lightingcomposition and soundtrack to the more nuanced arrangements of shots and characters, howHitchcock is able to effectively present a compelling visual narrative to his audience.Some of the most prominent and clever cinematic techniques utilized by Hitchcock arehis use of motifs to emphasize crucial aspects of his narrative. Hitchcock capitalizes on the film’stitle
Shadow of a Doubt 
and uses a wide range of shadows in the film. This film can becharacterized as film noir for its stylistic integration of silhouettes and contrasting shades.Virtually every shot throughout the film is lit in a way in which characters along with vitalobjects are cast with shadows. This visual medium is accomplished in way that focuses on theobscure nature of characters like Uncle Charlie. This style is present during the entire film, mostnotably in the bank scene. Hitchcock stocks each shot with captivating shadows casted byintricate blinds. Every character in the scene posses a contrasting silhouette respectively.Smoke is another motif used by Hitchcock. He associates it exclusively with UncleCharlie. When introducing Uncle Charlie, the character is seen twirling a lit cigar in his hand
 
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emitting a trail of smoke. In a subsequent scene we see a wide shot of an approaching locomotivecarrying uncle Charlie and discharging plumes of thick black smoke. There is a demonic feel thatderives from this scene; it suggests that something morbid has arrived in this town. The smoky bar scene is a literal visual translation for it transpires in the midst of a hazy situation in the story.Uncle Charlie drags little Charlie into the bar in the moment where she is struggling most todecipher whether or not her uncle Charlie is in fact the culprit. Hitchcock makes it blatantly clear that when smoke is visible, uncle Charlie is not afar. It should also be noted that the Garden of Eden is present in the film. The technique is used in order to invoke the concept of using beautyto hide evil. In this case uncle Charlie, who is apparently the most handsome character, isactually the villain. In one scene, uncle Charlie is scene plucking a flower and making it into a boutonniere. It is one of he many ways in which Hitchcock develops characters.Character introductions are essential to the plot. They allow the viewer to get a sense of the type of role they will play throughout the film. In the very first sequence we are introduced toMr. Spenser, who is dressed in a dark business suit and lying firmly in bed with his eyes closed.He is awake and pensively twirling his lit cigar with his right hand. The camera slowly pans inon the man, and then shifts to a pile of money that has overflowed onto the floor. This shot iscompleted in one fluid motion. From his suit to the cigar, it is suggested that he is an affluentman. However, the modest room in which the scene takes place indicates that this could not bethe home of such person. Such a discrepancy adds mystery to Mr. Spenser’s character, asuccessful technique accomplished before the first line of dialogue. Before we get a glimpse oSpenser, Hitchcock takes us through a series of establishing shots in order to orientate theviewer. First we see a wide shot of a city, then of a town, followed by medium shot of a houseand lastly of close up of a window.
 
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Later we learn that Mr. Spenser is actually named Charlie Oakley—uncle Charlie andwhat follows is a familiar sequence in which the protagonist Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Newton isintroduced. Hitchcock again revives his series of establishing shots. First a wide shot of the cityin this case Santa Cruz, followed by medium shot of a house and lastly a close up of a window.The succeeding shot is also a frame, which closes in on little Charlie. She too is lying down.Though this scene is strikingly similar to the first, there are notable differences. Unlike in thefirst scene, where uncle Charlie is dressed in fancy attire inside of a modest looking room, thesecond scene is arranged inversely where little Charlie is dressed in a modest dress inside of afancy looking bedroom. Hitchcock uses repetition as a way to link characters with each other allthe while juxtaposing them to reveal the intricacies of the roles respectively. This is the aestheticthat Hitchcock has applied to the film suitable for establishing the theme of duality.Uncle Charlie’s character development is noteworthy for Hitchcock infuses patterns of actions as a technique to convert this attractive East Coast businessman into a diabolical uncle.By establishing duality, uncle Charlie’s character growth becomes more compelling. The twin-like insinuation between both Charlie’s makes their relationship dynamic, yet alluring. By presenting these two characters as parallel it is easier to show disparities that occur later. As thefilm progresses uncle Charlie begins to slowly depart from being comparable to little Charlie.Hitchcock gives the viewer several indications of uncle Charlie’s slow yet steady development.In an early scene when settling into the home, uncle Charlie is told not to place his hat on the bedfor it invites trouble. However, when uncle Charlie is left alone he mischievously throws his haton bed indicating that he does not mind to inviting trouble. His true motives are revealed incertain scenes. In example, there is a scene when he attempts to engage Ann Newton into building a house out of newspaper, when in reality he is trying dispose of an incriminating

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