Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow Of A Doubt

This paper discusses Alfred Hitchcock’s use of the theme of transference of guilt in several films especially the 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt.

One of the themes found in the films of Alfred Hitchcock is that of the transference of guilt, a theme started in the British period and carried over into the cross-over period and beyond. This involved much more than simply the fact that the protagonist would be falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, though in the earlier films especially this would be closer to the way the issue was presented. Later, however, the protagonist would also be expiating some guilt of his own through this false accusation, and a key film in the development of this sense of guilt and transference is Shadow of a Doubt from 1943. William Rothman (1982) calls this Hitchcock’s first American film to be the equal of his British work and says that it gives form to all he learned in Hollywood as it declares continuity with the whole body of his …

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