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The Vault: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)



Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is going back to California to spend some time with his family and to get away from it all. Charlie could only be described as the black sheep of the Newman family; he has a shady past, although no one can quite place their finger on it. Despite his eccentricities, the Newmans welcome him back with open arms, and are surprised with the expensive and lavish gifts that he bestows upon them all. They find it delightful, and odd, but don't give a second thought to it.

However, his niece (also named Charlie, played by Teresa Wright) notices that her uncle is acting strangely. If Charlie thought his behavior would discourage his niece, he thought wrong. Charlie (the niece) investigates an article in the library and puts together the horrible cache of secrets held by her uncle. If hiding a dark secret from her family isn't burdensome enough, some survey-takers ask a great deal of questions about the newcomer to town. These questions predominantly lean toward finding a suspect of several murders.

Shadow of a Doubt's initial mystery lies with what Uncle Charlie's secrets may be, but throughout the rest of the film the drama lies in how it will all end for the Newman clan. Just how far will a person go to defend their family? Blood is thicker than water, but is it thicker than a guilty conscience? Will little Charlie break down under the burden of her uncle's truth, or be broken down? Treat yourself to a Hitchcock classic and find out.

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