108 minutes| U.S.A.| 1943| Black and White| 35mm

This film screened in April 2010.

‘The stronger the villain, the stronger the film’ was a formula that Hitchcock liked to repeat, and Joseph Cotten as ‘Uncle Charlie’, soon revealed as a serial killer of wealthy widows, is his strongest villain to date, like a scaled-up version of the sinister Fascist agents of his 1930s British thrillers. His mission to eliminate those whom he sees as social parasites carries a chilling echo of contemporary Nazi policies, and he comes, moreover, from the heart of the small-town American family. Shot mainly on location in the Californian town of Santa Rosa, the film seems to mark Hitchcock’s definitive absorption into America; at the same time, the mother of the family, Charlie’s sister, is like an affectionate portrait of his own half-Irish mother, who was close to death in England as the film was being shot. Both are named Emma, and the actress, Patricia Collinge, was born and educated here in Dublin.

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