Alfred Hitchcock cited Shadow of a Doubt as his favorite film experience, indicating on numerous occasions that from day one of shooting up until the final scene concluded, he was invigorated by a spirit of joint cooperation. He was so impressed by the spirit of the people of Santa Rosa, California that he ultimately bought a home in nearby Santa Cruz that he used as his Northern California retreat away from bustling Los Angeles.
Charles Oakley (Joseph Cotten) waits in shadows, as still as a corpse in his seedy room. Sinister men lurk outside in the street, and he feels the world closing in. Suddenly, he flashes on his salvation: he books a ticket for Santa Rosa, California, and sneaks out the door.
In Santa Rose live Charles’ sister (Patricia Collinge) and her family. A friendly, homey, American family, including Charles’ favorite relative, his niece Charlie (Teresa Wright). Young Charlie feels her home life is dull and disconnected, her family crippled by emotionless routine, and she longs for her cheerful Uncle Charlie to come and save her.