First things first, I need to justify giving Shadow of a Doubt 5 stars. Yes, it is in black and white, no it's not the best soundtrack from Hitchcock however it is a true cinematic spectacle and that is enough to give it this high rating.
The story is simple, about an apparently 'average family'. Hitch believed that he could make a film full of suspense out of any ordinary script, this could be considered to be true of SOAD. That is not to say that it is badly written or A dull or fantastic plot, the fact is, its likeability lies in the simplicity of the film's characters. The story is basically about a man on the run from the law who visits his sister and her family.
What I love about it is the change of our identification of the characters from the hero over to the heroine - from Charles to Charlie. Where the film differs from other films of the epoch is the director's skill. Unlike the two-dimensional techniques of some, by 1942 Hitch had begun to establish himself in Hollywood as a great director. His motif in SOAD is the shadows; using lighting and different camera angles to create a POV that not only shows what the characters see, but that also tell how the audience to feel.
A very well rounded film, and I genuinely mean this when i say - the film is perfectly cast. The male lead is a familiar face across the Hitchcockian canon, both lead females couldnt have been changed, and there is a subtle comedy that adds a delightful warmth to the movie with the Holmes and Watson-esque characters of the Father and his friend.
I refuse to talk about the films famous ending as even noting the smallest details would unravel the entire film. Perhaps the film is famous for being Hitch's favourite, for as it's final lines suggest the world 'needs a lot of watching' - a definition of cinema, just as this film is the definitive Hitchcock. A real pleasure to watch, that truly has stood the test of time.