Uncategorized

Announcing The Joseph Cotten Blogathon

Crystal from In the Good Old Days Of Classic Movies has asked me to co-host this blogathon with her. I was delighted to accept her invitation to be co-host. I really hope that you will all be able to join us both as we celebrate the life and career of the hugely talented classic film era actor, Joseph Cotten.

For this blogathon you can write about any of Joseph’s films. You can write about him as an actor. You can write about your favourite Joseph Cotten performances and screen characters. You can write more than one entry if you want to.

We will be accepting two duplicates per screen title, but no more than this as he made so many films, so there is lots for you to choose from.

The blogathon will be held on the  5th, 6th and 7th of September, 2018. There will also be a wrap up post held on the 8th. We picked these dates because September 5th marks the 77th anniversary of the release of Citizen Kane, which is one of Joseph’s most famous films.

I will be hosting on the 5th, and Crystal will be hosting on the 6th and 7th. Let one or both of us know what you would like to write about. 

Please check the particiaption list below to see who is writing about what. Please take one of the banners and pop it on your site somewhere to help to promote the event.

Participation List

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Portrait Of Jennie

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: My three favourite Joseph Cotten performances

Lifesdailylessonsblog: The Killer Is Loose

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Love Letters

Cinematic Scribblings: Lo Scopone Scientifico 

Caftan Woman: Walk Softly Stranger

Are You Thrilled: Niagara

Realweegiemidgetreviews:  The Case Is Closed (episode of The Rockford Files)

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: An ABC Of Joseph Cotten

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Lydia

Down These Mean Streets: The Third Man

Taking Up Room: Citizen Kane and Joseph and the Mercury Theatre

Anybody Got A Match?: Shadow Of A Doubt

The Midnite Drive-In: The Hearse

The Dream Book Blog: A Delicate Balance

Popcorn and Flickers: Too Much Johnson

Dubism: Tora, Tora, Tora: The Attack On Pearl Harbor

The Stop Button: Gaslight

Karavansara: Journey Into Fear

Wide Screen World: The Farmer’s Daughter

I Found It At The Movies: Topic to be decided

A Shroud Of Thoughts: Shadow Of A Doubt

MovieRobBlueprint For Murder, The Oscar and Soylent Green

Mike’s Take On The Movies: Two Flags West

Back To Golden Days: Since You Went Away

Critica Retro: I’ll Be Seeing You

Old Hollywood Films: Duel In The Sun

Moon In Gemini: The Steel Trap

Blogie and Bacall: Joseph Cotten as an actor

Poppity: Under Capricorn

 

Joseph 2

Joseph 3

Joseph 3

 

Advertisements
Blogathons

The Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon: Shadow Of A Doubt (1943)

Hitchcock blogathon 3

This is my third and final entry for my Hitchcock Blogathon. This time I’m writing about the film that Hitch called his personal favourite from amongst his own films.  It’s really not hard to see why he loved this one so much.

Long before David Lynch showed us that small towns hid secrets, and that all was not well behind closed doors; Hitch gave us all of that in just one film. That film is Shadow Of A Doubt, and it is a nightmare depiction of discovering someone you love is not who you thought them to be. This film also shows innocence being lost, and horror and disruption landing in a small American town.

There is also some terrific Hitchcock black humour to be found in this film. Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn play two best friends who meet regularly to discuss (in minute detail) ways in which they could kill one another and not get detected. These bizarre conversations appear throughout the film, at one point even carrying on at the dinner table!

The film is set (and filmed out on location)in Santa Rosa, California. We are shown the positive sides of small town life in this film. You (usually)get good and supportive neighbours, have a strong sense of community, and you feel that your town is the safest place you could be.

Hitch also shows us that living in a place like this shelters the inhabitants from the violence etc that you will be (unfortunately)almost certain to encounter in the big city. The trouble with being sheltered from it is that you never believe anything bad will ever happen to you, or to those living in your community.

Photo0681
Charlie arrives in town. Screenshot by me.

This film sees the eyes of the small town community being opened to evil. This evil comes in the form of Charles Oakley (Joseph Cotten).  Known to all as Charlie, he is a smooth talking, charming and elegant man.

He is also a serial killer, who targets wealthy widows and is dubbed by the Police and media as ‘The Merry Widow Killer’.

Charlie’s identity is as yet unknown, but the Police have gathered many leads and are beginning to suspect him.

Photo0682
Charlie and young Charlie reunite. Screenshot by me.

Charlie gets on a train and travels to Santa Rosa. He goes to stay with his beloved elder sister, Emma (Patricia Collinge), and her husband Joseph ( Henry Travers).

Charlie is happy to see them, and they are happy to see him. Charlie is overjoyed to be reunited with his teenage nice and namesake, young Charlie (Teresa Wright).

These two have a fascinating relationship. They have an almost telepathic bond with each other and can read each other like a book. Young Charlie looks up to her uncle and sees him as a breath of fresh air in her life.

When Detective Jack Graham (MacDonald Carey) speaks to young Charlie about her uncle, she soon begins to suspect that her Uncle may well be hiding a dark secret. As she begins to investigate him he become suspicious and soon their relationship becomes one of cat and mouse.

When I first saw this film I was in my mid teens, and I picked up then a strong hint of something that almost seems like sexual tension to me between the two Charlie’s. The more I’ve watched this as I’ve grown older, I can still detect this weird tension between them. The way young Charlie behaves around Uncle Charlie, it is almost like she has a strong crush on him. 

Photo0685
Charlie and young Charlie. More like twins or a couple than simply uncle and niece. Notice the same pose they are both in during this scene. Screenshot by me.

There are also several scenes where they seem to act out things like a couple who’ve had a spat would (such as her acting weird around him, or running off and him chasing her and taking her to the bar.) Am I alone in noticing this tension? I find it hard to believe that something like this would be in this by accident. Everything Hitch included (even the smallest things)were included intentionally.

Photo0684
Uncle Charlie attacks his niece. Screenshot by me.

Joseph Cotten is excellent here as a man with a very dark secret indeed, who presents a likeable front to the world.  This role showed what a good dramatic actor Cotten could be, it’s a shame he never again got a role quite like this.

His famous speech about pulling back the fronts of houses to find swine is unforgettable. That speech (although chilling)is correct because behind closed doors many unpleasant things go on all the time that we are never privy too. 

In most cases neighbours, friends, family etc wouldn’t believe or accept those things as true if they were told, as the people involved come across as nice when they are out and about in public.

The film also focuses on the dual nature of Charlie and on why he is the way he is. It is revealed later that after a childhood head injury his personality changed. That to me suggests that his actions as an adult are down to his personality change caused by this injury. In regards to this, I think that Hitch was quite ahead of his time looking at psychology and other issues causing someone to do something unpleasant. Charlie goes through life with two faces and personalities and switches between them as when it becomes necessary.

Photo0683
Charlie has her innocence shattered. Screenshot by me.

Duality as a theme continues in the film with the nature of Charlie and young Charlie. She represents the innocence and joy he had as a child.

He represents the reality of adulthood, innocence dies, and with pressures and responsibilities there is less joy to be had when you are grown, than when you are younger.

Their characters are also almost like twins, and although they are separate they have this connection and outlook that makes them almost like one person.

Teresa Wright is excellent as the young woman who loses her innocence and sheltered nature quicker than she should have done. She captures the horror and disbelief of discovering an unpleasant truth about someone you love. Teresa is a very expressive actress, and in many scenes in this she doesn’t need dialogue as everything we need to know can be seen in her face.

Patricia Collinge is very moving as the devoted elder sister to Uncle Charlie. Emma clearly adores him and worships the ground he walks on, almost to the point of self delusion. You almost don’t want him to get caught for her sake. You know she would break when told the horrific truth.

An excellent film that is one of Hitch’s best in my opinion. It is also a good one to watch if you are after strong performances.

My favourite scenes are the following. The finale on the train. Uncle Charlie chasing Charlie into town and taking her to the bar. Young Charlie trying to get in the Library at closing time.

What are your thoughts on this film? Please share your comments below.