Charlotte 'Charlie' Newton is bored with her quiet life at home with her parents and her younger sister. She wishes something exciting would happen and knows exactly what they need: a visit from her sophisticated and much traveled uncle Charlie Oakley, her mother's younger brother. Imagine her delight when, out of the blue, they receive a telegram from uncle Charlie announcing that he is coming to visit them for awhile. Charlie Oakley creates quite a stir and charms the ladies club as well as the bank president where his brother-in-law works. Young Charlie begins to notice some odd behavior on his part, such as cutting out a story in the local paper about a man who marries and then murders rich widows. When two strangers appear asking questions about him, she begins to imagine the worse about her dearly beloved uncle Charlie. Written by
Edna May Wonacott, who plays young Ann Newton, and Estelle Jewell, who plays Charlie's friend, Catherine, were both locals of Santa Rosa, where the film was shot on location. Many of the film's extras were also locals of the town, which was too far away from Hollywood to be affected by Actors Guild guidelines demanding the use of professional actors. See more »
When Charlie is leaving the bank president's office Mr. Green is in the background standing behind his desk. He is striped with venetian blind shadows and his chair has a low rounded back. A moment earlier a close up of Mr. Green shows no such shadows and his chair has a high squarish back. See more »
The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who've spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, ...
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In one of his most chilling and memorable intrigues Alfred Hitchcock lays bare the myth of small town virtue with a perverse piece of Americana about a wholesome family unaware of the gruesome skeleton lurking in its closet. The arrival of everyone's much loved Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton, in his favorite role) is the catalyst to disaster, with eldest daughter Charlie in particular welcoming the arrival of her affectionate namesake as a relief from the humdrum routine of suburban life. But evidence soon begins to suggest the elder Charles might actually be a cold-blooded serial killer, and a lethal game of charades begins between uncle and niece: she knows the truth, and he knows that she knows the truth. The tension builds to an alarming climax, in a trademark sequence (another one for the Hitchcock highlight reel) showing the Master of Suspense at the top of his form. The film was shot in sunny Santa Rosa, California, where the shadows are darker because the sunlight is so much brighter.
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