Diane NegraOct 18, 2022
Shadow of a Doubt
Today I talked to Diane Negra about Shadow of a Doubt (Auteur, 2021).
Shadow of a Doubt (1943) was British-born Alfred Hitchcock's fifth American film and the one that he at various times identified as his favourite and his best. This scrupulously organized film operates as a masterclass on principles of narrative design while generating resonant commentary on the nature of family life.
Negra is Professor of Film Studies and Screen Culture at University College Dublin. Analysing the film's narrative system, issues of genre, authorship, social history, homesickness and 'family values', Negra shows how the film's impeccable narrative structure is wedded to radical ideological content, linking the film's terrors to the punishing effects of looking beyond conventional family and gender roles. This book redresses the deficit of sustained critical attention paid to Shadow even in the large corpus of Hitchcock scholarship. Finally it understands Shadow as an unconventionally female-centred Hitchcock text and a milestone film that marks the director's emergent engagement with the pathologies of violence in American life and opens a window into the placement of femininity in World War II consensus culture and more broadly into the politics of mid-century gender and family life.
Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne.