Shadow of a Doubt

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Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 film about a young woman who thinks her uncle, whom she is named for, may be a serial killer.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville, based on a story by Gordon McDonell.

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.

Uncle Charlie Oakley

  • Well, Charlie?...You think you know something, don't you? That young fellow told you something...Now look, Charlie, Something's come between us. I don't want that to happen. Why, we're old friends. More than that. We're like twins. You said so yourself. What did he tell you? What did that boy tell you?...Charlie, you're a pretty understanding sort of girl. You've heard some little things about me. I guess you're a woman of the world enough to overlook them. You're the head of your family, Charlie, anyone can see that. I'm not so old. I've been chasing around the globe since I was sixteen. I guess I've done some pretty foolish things. And some pretty foolish mistakes. Nothing serious, just foolish.
  • You think you know something, don't you? You think you're the clever little girl who knows something. There's so much you don't know, so much. What do you know, really? You're just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there's nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares. Or did I? Or was it a silly, inexpert little lie? You live in a dream. You're a sleepwalker, blind. How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know, if you rip off the fronts of houses, you'd find swine? The world's a hell. What does it matter what happens in it? Wake up, Charlie. Use your wits. Learn something.


Young Charlie: I've come to the conclusion that I give up. I simply give up.
Joseph Newton: What are you going to give up?
Young Charlie: Have you ever stopped to think that a family should be the most wonderful thing in the world and that this family's just gone to pieces?
Joseph Newton: We have?
Young Charlie: Of course we have. We just sort of go along and nothing happens. We're in a terrible rut. It's been on my mind for months. What's gonna be our future?
Joseph Newton: Oh, come now, Charlie. Things aren't as bad as that. The bank gave me a raise last January.
Young Charlie: Money. How can you talk about money when I'm talking about souls? We eat and sleep and that's about all. We don't even have any real conversations. We just talk...
Joseph Newton: ...and work.
Young Charlie: Yes, poor mother, she works like a dog, just like a dog...When she comes back, it will be the same thing. Dinner, then dishes, then bed. I don't see how she stands it. You know, she's really a wonderful woman. I mean, she's not just a mother. And I think we ought to do something for her. Don't you think we should?
Joseph Newton: Yeah. What were you thinking of doing for her?
Young Charlie: Oh, nothing I suppose. I guess we'll just have to wait for a miracle - or something...I don't believe in good intentions anymore. All I'm waiting for now is a miracle.

Young Charlie: I can't explain it but you came here and Mother's so happy and I'm glad that she named me after you and that she thinks we're both alike. I think we are too. I know it. It would spoil things if you should give me anything.
Uncle Charlie: You're a strange girl, Charlie. Why would it spoil things?
Young Charlie: Because we're not just an uncle and a niece. It's something else. I know you. I know that you don't tell people a lot of things. I don't either. I have the feeling that inside you somewhere, there's something nobody knows about.
Uncle Charlie: Something nobody knows?
Young Charlie: Something secret and wonderful and - I'll find it out.
Uncle Charlie: It's not good to find out too much, Charlie.
Charlie: But we're sorta like twins, don't you see? We have to know.

Uncle Charlie: I got in the habit of carrying a lot of cash with me when I was traveling.
Mr. Green: Dangerous habit, Mr. Oakley.
Uncle Charlie: Never lost a penny in my life, Mr. Green. I guess heaven takes care of fools and scoundrels.

Young Charlie: I know what you are really. You're a detective. There's something the matter and you're a detective...
Jack Graham: Charlie, listen.
Young Charlie: I don't want to listen. You're not in a survey at all. You lied to us. You lied to mother. You just wanted to get in our house. That's what it is. What do you want with us? What are you doing around here lying to us?
Jack Graham: Look, Charlie, you've got to listen to me. You've got to trust me.
Young Charlie: When you've done nothing but lie?
Jack Graham: I had to. When I came here to this town to find a man. I hadn't counted on you. I hadn't counted on your mother or your family...There's a man loose in this country. We're after him. We don't know much about him. We don't even know what he looks like...This man we want may be your uncle.
Young Charlie: I don't believe you. Go away and leave me alone.
Jack Graham: We're after one man. Your uncle may be that man. We followed him. We think he is. But in the east, there's another man who's being hunted too, hunted through Massachusetts and into Maine. He may be the one.

Uncle Charlie: Women keep busy in towns like this. In the cities it's different. The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands dead, husbands who've spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. Then they die and leave their money to their wives. Their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money. Proud of their jewelry but of nothing else. Horrible, faded, fat, greedy women.
Young Charlie: They're alive! They're human beings!
Uncle Charlie: Are they? Are they, Charlie? Are they human or are they fat wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?

Young Charlie: I'm glad you were able to come, Jack. I couldn't have faced it without someone who knew. I did know more. I couldn't tell you.
Jack Graham: I know.
Young Charlie: He thought the world was a horrible place. He couldn't have been very happy ever. He didn't trust people. He seemed to hate them. Hated the whole world. You know, he said that people like us had no idea what the world was really like.
Jack Graham: Well, it's not quite as bad as that, but sometimes it needs a lot of watching. It seems to go crazy every now and then, like your Uncle Charlie.


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