Black SplatShadow of a Doubt (1943)
   

"The cities are full of women...horrible, faded, fat, greedy women."

Shadow of a Doubt - Joseph Cotten as Uncle Charlie

Description: Joseph Cotton as Uncle Charlie in the motion picture Shadow of a Doubt (1943).

Charles "Uncle Charlie" Oakley is on the run from the police who suspect he is "The Merry Widow Murderer" who seduces and robs elderly women.

When he receives an invitation from his niece Charlotte "Charlie" Newton (Teresa Wright), he takes a train to Santa Rosa, California to visit his relatives, whom are glad to see him, especially Charlotte who shares a special bond with her namesake uncle.

Upon his arrival, Uncle Charlie takes up residence at the Newton home, giving presents to all of his kin. He gives Charlotte a beautiful emerald ring, that is actually the spoils from one of the women he murdered.

Shadow of a Doubt - Uncle Charlie gives Charlotte an emerald ring

All goes well until two detectives, posing as census workers arrive at the house to ask questions and take pictures. Suspecting they know the truth about him, Uncle Charlie wants nothing to do with them.

When one of the men takes his photograph, he insists they give him the negatives. The detectives acquiesce, but secretly give him another roll of film, while keeping the real roll to send to headquarters for developing. The photograph later implicates Uncle Charlie as the killer.

During a dinner conversation with the Newton family, Uncle Charlie offers his opinion of rich widows, an explanation that gives rise to Charlotte's suspicions that there is something sinister about her favorite uncle.

"The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who've spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And 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... Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old? "

Meanwhile, the news reports that a second man suspected as the Merry Widow Murderer has been killed and Uncle Charlie gives a sign of relief, but Charlotte's has come to the conclusion that her uncle is indeed the man the police want. Her evidence?: the initials "TS" inside the emerald ring given by her Uncle Charlie match the name of one of the women, Thelma Schenley, found murdered. Charlotte discovers this information by reading newspaper articles in the town library.

Shadow of a Doubt - Uncle Charlie confronts Charlotte

"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." - Uncle Charlie to Charlotte

Soon after, Charlotte is almost killed when a step on the staircase breaks and she is locked inside a garage with a motor spewing lethal exhaust fumes. Although, Charlotte can not prove that her Uncle Charlie is responsible for these convenient "accidents," she fears the worst.

With the alleged Merry Widow Murderer caught, Uncle Charlie decides to leave town. As the family says their goodbyes at the train station, Uncle Charlie delays Charlotte's departure from the train with the intentions of throwing her off the train as it picks up speed. He knows that Charlotte knows he is the killer and he is going to make sure he cover his tracks.

As Uncle Charlie holds one hand over Charlotte's mouth, Charlotte wrestles free from his hold and it is Uncle Charlie who falls from the train, being hit by a passing locomotive.

Shadow of a Doubt - Uncle Charlie falls off the train

Charlotte never reveals the truth about Uncle Charlie to save the family reputation. She then marries one of the young detectives (Macdonald Carey) who also knows the secret of her nefarious uncle. As she speaks about her deceased uncle, Charlotte confesses:

"He thought the world was a horrible place. He couldn't have been very happy, ever. He didn't trust people. Seemed to hate them. He hated the whole world. You know, he said people like us had no idea what the world was really like."


Shadow of a Doubt - Movie Poster


 
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