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Alfred Hitchcock once said that of all the famous films he directed, Shadow of a Doubt was his favorite.
Imagine. Alfred directed Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, North by Northwest and Vertigo with stars like Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant and James Stewart. Yet, his favorite movie was an intimate story about a small family and the dark forces within it.
Hitchcock had a special talent with the kind of movies he produced. He used the word “MacGuffin” as part of his movie ploys. According to Hitchcock, “The main thing I’ve learned over the years, is that the MacGuffin is nothing. I’m convinced of this, but I find it very difficult to prove it to others.”
To me, a MacGuffin is something that is placed or said in a movie to lead you in a direction or to make you suspect something is a clue. In truth, it might be, but did you notice it? Was it obvious?
Shadow of a Doubt
- The newspaper
- The ring
- The character of the first Mrs. DeWinter – Rebecca (I have loved the movie Rebecca since childhood. Although she is dead at the opening of the movie, her very name inspires all kinds of feelings and thoughts. She is a wonderful MacGuffin.
*The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, is a wonderful character who makes the dead Rebecca come to life)
Dial M for Murder
- The spare key to the apartment
- The suspected “murder” committed by the apartment tenant across the street from James Stewart’s character.
- The reason the birds attacked. (Did we ever really find out?)
- The color red
Hitchcock loved making movies and his career spanned 50 years. His television show was so popular that is still runs on TV today. One of my personal favorites from Hitchcock’s television series was Lamb to the Slaughter starring Barbara Bel Geddes. I saw it as an eight year old and remembered it forever! It is truly one of the great stories, and I played it for my daughter when she was eight years old.
If asked, I suppose I would say my favorite Hitchcock movies were Shadow of a Doubt and Rebecca. What is your favorite Hitchcock movie?