WEIRDLAND: March 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Two Night Stand: online romance, Miles Teller (Moonlight Miles) video

Modern dating is a jungle of random hook-ups, Internet dating sites with questionable profiles, and other hurdles When Harry Met Sally never had to contend with. 

First-time director Max Nichols (son of director Mike Nichols) chose wisely with his leads, Miles Teller and the lesser-known but bubbly Analeigh Tipton. She makes for an unconventional romantic lead which works because the same applies to Teller, an actor who has shown incredible range in more serious films in the past. Nichols and screenwriter Mark Hammer have an ear for millennial lingo, crucial considering the film is basically a two-hander set in one cramped apartment. Megan hits an online dating site for a quick hook-up, something she's never done before. She quickly meets Alec (Teller), who seems to be exactly what she's looking for; meaning he's cute, uncommitted, and not a serial killer. A quick scan via webcam confirms no bodies hanging on his apartment walls.

It's not until the film takes a more serious turn that Nichols and Hammer start dropping a few pearls. A frank conversation about men and women helping one another have better sex has some real insights. And once we see Megan and Alec put all of their emotional cards on the table it also opens up the performances by Teller and Tipton. Both strike a believable vulnerability as two people who have been bruised by love and are reluctant to give it another shot. Teller seems to be able to build chemistry with anybody, a rare talent that should take him far. Tipton has the much flakier role to play and she manages to be endearing rather than irritating. Ultimately, Two Night Stand is about the way such people use whatever is at their disposal to protect themselves from more hurt. Sometimes that's a convenient half-truth, or a dating profile that needs an update. Source:

Miles Teller "Midnight Miles" video. Soundtrack: "Stuck on You," "I Got Stung," "Got a Lot O' Livin' To Do" & "Paralyzed" by Elvis Presley, "Moonlight Mile" by The Rolling Stones, and "You Never Know" by Wilco.

Nearly 40 million Americans utilize online dating sites. California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris partnered with three major dating sites — EHarmony,, and Spark Networks — to create company guidelines that would make online dating safe for its users. There is a misconception that these relationships are doomed to fail, but the survey showed that couples who met online were less likely to divorce than those who met through traditional methods. Only 5.96 percent of relationships that began online ended in divorce or separation. Of those who remained married, they reported higher levels of satisfaction than those who met offline. Source:

Michael Rosenfeld: -One of the things I have found out as part of my research is that people who meet online actually progress to marriage faster than people who meet offline. If you look at the couples who stay together, about half of the couples who meet through online dating have transitioned to marriage by year four of the relationship. The need for love, romance, relationships and sex — these are pretty basic human needs. And the ability to match people who would have otherwise not found each other is a powerful outcome of the new technology. About 75 percent of the people who meet online had no prior connection. They didn’t have friends in common. They’re families didn’t know each other. So they were perfect strangers. And prior to the Internet, it was kind of hard for perfect strangers to meet.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not Missing a Beat: Miles Teller in "Whiplash" and "The Spectacular Now"

Submerging oneself in the recently released Whiplash soundtrack—which includes classic jazz standards like Duke Ellington's Caravan and Stan Getz's Intoit—and the compilation Complete Buddy Rich: 1946-1956/1957-1962, it's easier to connect with Charlie Parker's ghost. Bird became an obsession for genius drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) in the three-Oscar-winner film Whiplash (2014). In Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker (2013)the biographer Stanley Crouch affirmed: "Charlie Parker knew how to listen and hear, instant by instant, and how to respond with aesthetic command to that instant, gone now and never to return."

By comparing Damien Chazelle's milestone Whiplash with Sundance Film Festival's darling The Spectacular Now (which earned Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley the Special Jury Award for Dramatic Acting in 2013), we'll notice many similarities between their outwardly disparate filmic concepts.

Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), the ruthless jazz instructor at Shaffer, transforms Andrew's admiration for Buddy Rich into Charlie Parker's renewed greatness, turning a dangerously unhealthy obsession into predetermined and irrevocable success, whatever the cost may be. In Andrew's case, the resurrection of Charlie Parker's spirit will bestow on him an absolute dissociation with the world outside of music. In real life, Parker maintaned an obscure business relationship with his benefactor Ross Russell and was committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital in 1946 after his "Lover Man" breakdown, echoing the parallel confrontation between Neiman and Fletcher in the film.

No family or girlfriend can rescue the lost innocence of Andrew Neiman, who will exist virtually outside of society from then on, having ceased to distinguish between passion and madness, love and hate, humanity and cruelty. But nothing will ever tarnish the legendary magnitude of his triumph in that sublime instant that's never to return, and that's why genuine art is often so strange and scarce. That painful divorce of heart and reason in Whiplash was narrated in more relatable terms through Teller's performance as Sutter Keely in The Spectacular Now the previous year.

A high school senior bereft of ambition or plans for the future, only fortified by his abuse of alcohol and fake parties, Sutter Keely casually meets introverted A-student Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley), whom he vows to save from her downtrodden life: "I’m not a lifestyle accessory to her. I’m a necessity. I’m the guy that’s going to crack open her cocoon. She doesn’t need to change me—she needs me to change her. At least until her little butterfly wings get strong enough to fly away."

The same focus on the need of saving someone from affliction or mediocrity was manifested in the reveal that Andrew finally obtains from Fletcher in a rare bonding moment: "I wasn’t [at Shaffer] to conduct. No, it’s about pushing people beyond what’s expected of them. And I believe that is a necessity. Because without it you’re depriving the world of its next Armstrong. Its next Parker."

In the scene when Andrew's ex-girlfriend Nicole, an unambitious theatre concessionist, confesses to him on the phone she's dating another man and she will not come back, Chazelle's script says: "You can see it in Andrew’s eyes - real hurt. And surprise at how hurt he feels."

Sutter, unlike Andrew, is not surprised by the feeling of hurt, he simply has learned to hide it socially. "God’s own drunk... he’s looking out for you in your beautiful intoxication but you end up spending half the day feeling like the Antichrist when the fact is you didn’t do a thing to hurt a soul."

When Andrew makes love to Aimee (she's been sexually victimized in the past and Andrew behaves cautious yet nonchalant about it), he feels for the first time something more than sexual pleasure, a painful sensation he cannot conceal: "I look down at her face. Suddenly, I feel all the layers that have grown over my own purity stripping away. The faster we go, the more layers burn away, until magic time hits, and there’s nothing left but the original me, as pristine as her body, shining and glorious."

The final solo scene in Whiplash: "It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen... 450 beats per minute... trying to go even faster... trying to reach that mythical place where only the greats live... Andrew tearing a hole through the stage, blood gushing from his hands and staining the cymbals... A second of pure silence. Fletcher turns to the band, raises his hand... and cues the final note. The whole band roars it out, horns hitting their highest C’s, and Andrew rolling around his drum set like a madman, eyes about to pop, the next Buddy Rich, Fletcher’s only Charlie Parker on that very last hit of hits... cut to black."

Sutter's most pessimistic observations are found in the Chapter 66 of Tim Tharp’s novel The Spectacular Now: "We’re not the Faster-than-the-Speed-of-Light Generation anymore. We’re not even the Next-New-Thing Generation. We’re the Soon-to-Be-Obsolete Kids, and we’ve crowded in here to hide from the future and the past. We know what’s up—the future looms straight ahead like a black wrought-iron gate and the past is charging after us..."

An experiment conducted by the neuroscientist David Eagleman in 2010 on time perception in drummers illustrated that drummers have different brains from the rest of us: "Establishing the beat is a drug for drummers," Brad Henderson (author of Drums: A Novel) concluded.

Andrew Neiman and Sutter Keely both probably suffer from depression and alexithymia. According to psychoanalyst Joyce McDougall, the disaffected individuals "experienced overwhelming emotion that threatened to attack their sense of integrity and identity." Jazz and alcohol are indulged thus methodically in order to numb their emotional damages. Sutter masks his psychogenic unrest with a blasé party-boy façade whilst Andrew unmasks the secrets of artistic greatness, whose center is sheer bright pain. Sutter swaps his own happiness for Aimee's future. 

Andrew sacrifices part of his soul for brief immortality. Their stories simultaneously mutate into a prolonged coda that marks their slow-tempo self-destruction, a shut-down from the outside world that they'll enact as the ultimate form of compassion towards others. Miles Teller nails both performances without missing a beat: 'bad boy' Sutter who courts redemption in The Spectacular Now, and the remoteness of the genius in Whiplash.

Published previously as In ‘Whiplash’ and ‘The Spectacular Now,’ Miles Teller Isn’t Missing a Beat on Blogcritics.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Miles Teller: Getting A-List Jobs, "No Exit", "You Never Know/Crazy About My Baby" video

Miles Teller really established himself when he blew people away in The Spectacular Now. Playing a wise cracking teen who lives in the moment but comes to find that existence hollow due to his relationship with Shailene Woodley’s good hearted character, Teller stretched and wins you over in a big way. It’s a touching performance in a nearly perfect film. Teller and Woodley have tremendous chemistry and this was the role that I feel started the actor off on this path to the A-list. 

Since then, he’s had a few comedies/romantic comedies in That Awkward Moment and Two Night Stand (which happens to be much better than you’d expect and well worth seeking out) that have showcased him either as a comedian or as a romantic lead, while he’s also taken a big step into the mainstream with a notable part in the epic Divergent. The success of Divergent as well as its sequels was his entrance to the big A-list rankings, though he left us all stunned with his work in the drama Whiplash. Alongside J.K. Simmons, Teller essays the best performance of his career as a drum student going up against his instructor. It’s a magnificent bit of acting.”

Be sure to check out Get a Job, finally coming to screens this weekend! Source:

Josh Brolin and Miles Teller are set to star in the firefighter action movie “No Exit,” sources tell Variety. “Tron: Legacy” helmer Joseph Kosinski is directing the pic, which tells the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of firefighters that faced one of the deadliest wildfires in history in order to save an Arizona town, resulting in the tragic death of 19 crew members. In the past year, Brolin has appeared in “Everest,” “Sicario” and, most recently, the Coen brothers’ black comedy “Hail, Caesar!” 

Teller has “The Divergent Series: Allegiant”, and the Todd Phillips movie “War Dogs” premiering on Aug. 19. He is currently filming the PTSD drama “Thank You For Your Service” at DreamWorks. Source:

A video featuring pictures of Miles Teller, his co-stars Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick, etc., and girlfriend Keleigh Sperry. Soundtrack: "You Never Know" by Wilco, "I Got Stung" & "Stuck on You" by Elvis Presley, "Whole lotta Loving" by Fats Domino, "Crazy About My Baby" by Randy Newman, "Ooh Wee Baby" by Jeff Barry and "I'm Gonna Love You Too" by Buddy Holly.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Miles Teller ("Stuck on You"/"Let There Be Drums") video

A video dedicated to Miles Teller, featuring co-stars Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, and girlfriend Keleigh Sperry.  Soundtrack: Elvis Presley hits and Sandy Nelson's "Let There Be Drums."

"I don't download movies, I don't watch Hulu, I don't have Netflix. But I do geek out to music. Honestly, I'm not a big movie buff in general. I always had ambition. I always knew I was going to go to college. I could party and do that stuff, but I always got straight A's." -Miles Teller

Monday, March 14, 2016

Romanticism in "La La Land" and "The Spectacular Now"

Summit Entertainment has announced that La La Land has been pushed back from its previously scheduled July 15 release date. Instead, Damien Chazelle’s modern-day musical will open Dec. 2 in limited release before going wide on Dec. 16. Chazelle, who scored an Oscar nomination for Whiplash, wrote and directed his musical love letter to the city of Los Angeles, starring Gosling and Stone as musician, Sebastian, and struggling actress, Mia. The two see each other as kindred spirits, only to find their blossoming relationship threatened by success. “There’s an incredible romanticism in L.A. that you don’t always see when you’re stuck in traffic on the 405,” Chazelle told EW about La La Land in December. “I wanted to make a big love letter to the city and focus on that push and pull that all young artists experience, between dreams and reality, which old Hollywood musicals are so good at expressing. I think there’s something poetic about that.” Source:

It’s strongly implied in the interview that the reason Miles Teller was no longer "creatively right" was that Whiplash became an Oscar winning film, thus making Chazelle and his films much hotter properties in Hollywood. The male lead in La La Land (which is the role we assume is being discussed) is now being played by Ryan Gosling, so that shows you a little how that went... Teller’s Whiplash co-star J.K. Simmons is also in it. Of course, it’s also possible that filming summer superhero movies and other more mainstream fare like the Divergent series also soured the director on him creatively. Source:

Miles Teller and Brie Larson starred in the indie darling The Spectacular Now, playing a high school's most popular couple (before Teller's character struck up a relationship with Shailene Woodley, of course). Miles decided to honor his former costar by throwing it back to that beloved flick. "I never should've let her break up with me in Spectacular Now!" he wrote on Twitter shortly after her big win. "Congrats @brielarson." Source:

As far as chemistry goes, no one showed more connectivity than Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, redefining high school romanticism through fears of commitment and embracing future unknowns. The Spectacular Now is a rare film that wears its colors on its sleeve, and sucks you into the world of Miles Teller’s character Sutter for a watch that could be classified as emotionally bi-polar. Source:

Shailene Woodley may steal the show, but there's no doubt that the film belongs to Miles Teller's Sutter. A good-time kid smarting from his breakup with his girlfriend and determined to live in an eternal present despite his half-assed attempts at filling out college applications, Sutter is also haunted by the absence of his father. The early scenes between the two lovers are among the film's finest, and the filmmakers smartly undercut the romanticism of many of these sequences by suggesting that even as Sutter is wooing Aimee, she still serves as a consolation prize for the ex he can't win back.

Unfortunately, the film then turns its attention primarily to the question of Sutter's parental inheritance, particularly the ways in which he either has been, or imagines he has been, shaped in both his alcoholism and his philosophy of living in the moment, by his absent father. It's a questionable turn for a movie that that, until that point, succeeded largely by avoiding this kind of easy psychologizing, instead unfolding as a series of sharply rendered interactions between young people trying to figure out their place in a world that exists beyond their fragile understanding. Source:

The reality is the idealist perspective of the man-child does not really hold up. James Ponsoldt's riveting "The Spectacular Now" humanizes the "man-child" and examines the origins and evolutions of this archetype. Sutter reacts to his environment without really giving it much thought. His decisions slowly reveal more about his desire to use his nonchalant nature as a defense for a fear of the world he desperately wants to avoid. Teller makes a star turn as Sutter. He's full of energy and his smile makes him a loveable character. His characterization tries to put up the front of the strong character and yet comes off as awkward and out-of-place. As his character descends, the smile dissipates behind an increasingly stern face that is wrestling to keep its emotions in check. 

The idyllic, carefree world of prom and high school is dominated by the complex and disappointing one inhabited by adults. Woodley is breathtaking in her turn as Aimee. Her timid and insecure nature is genuine and palpable, and her transformation, like Sutter's, is one of trial by fire. Ponsoldt and cinematographer Jess Hall utilize the long take to terrific effect in pivotal scenes; a powerful portrayal of the title's "Spectacular Now" if you will. A sex scene is filmed in a tight long shot that creates a powerful sense of intimacy but also reflects naturalism. Source:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Miles Teller: Divergent, Whiplash, Bleed for This

"Allegiant" (2016) The latest episode of the Divergent sci-fi series suffers from over-elaborate production design, too much hardware and far too many special effects. It doesn't help that the plotting is so convoluted and so wayward. One moment characters are being dressed in "plasma" clothes to protect them from nuclear radiation, the next they are whirring through the sky in futuristic buggies. There are so many chases, fights and shoot-outs that the film-makers lose sight of the story they are trying to tell. 

Tris, Four and the other young heroes (including Miles Teller's still perfidious Peter) escape the city and take their chances in the toxic red desert beyond the wall. There, they encounter the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, as shadowy an organisation as its name suggests, run by the friendly but inscrutable David (Jeff Daniels). The Hunger Games combined dystopian political satire with teen drama in effective, coherent fashion – and it ended on a very strong note. By contrast, Divergent is losing its way. Some of the action scenes (notably the escape from Chicago and the scaling of the wall) are staged with energy but others are formulaic in the extreme. Source:

"When I first read Whiplash, I was feeling dead inside," Teller told W magazine of the film festival favorite, in which he is berated by his art college professor (J.K. Simmons) to become the next great name in jazz.

-Can you compare music to acting, in the sense of striving for perfection?

Miles Teller: What's similar - it's not a perfect medium. With actors, there are three performances: there's the one in their head they want to give, there's the one that they actually give, and there's the one they wish they gave. Every movie I finish, once I see it, I say: 'I could've done that.' You try and learn from it, and then with the next movie, you try and come back stronger and have a deeper, richer performance. The thing about acting, you're really just conveying the human condition… so you're always trying to understand yourself more and understand other people more and understand emotions more. It's a never-ending excavation process. Source:

Miles Teller: "Photo shoots are so weird. I hate them." Next up is Bleed for This, in which he will play the world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza who survives a car crash only to learn he might never walk again, before going on to make an inspirational comeback. It’s a plotline not entirely unfamiliar to the actor, who survived a near-fatal car crash in 2007, which left him with multiple scars on his face and neck. Source:

"Bleed for This": Miles Teller stars as champion boxer Vinny Pazienza who makes an improbable comeback after a near-fatal car crash breaks his neck. Ben Younger ("Boiler Room") wrote and directed this movie, which prompted a bidding war last year after a 12-minute promo reel was shown to distributors. (Fall 2016) Source:

Monday, March 07, 2016

Hitchcock's films, "Whiplash": masterpieces of performance anxiety

“The 39 Steps” is a 1935 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. Several of the particularly Hitchcockian-features in the film include his us of the “icy, blonde female” as a leading character and his own participation in the film. The film was the first Hitchcock film based upon the idea of an “innocent man on the run,” such as Saboteur and North by Northwest. Scholars of his films regard this film as one of his best variations upon this particular theme. In 1999 it came in 4th in a BFI poll of British films and in 2004 Total Film named it the 21st greatest British film of all time.

This will be the first of four major Hitchcock films shown by FOLA this month to demonstrate the character and growth of the great director’s talent. It will feature a brief introduction to Hitchcock by film expert Rick Winston who will discuss the evolution of Hitchcock’s craft, his favorite themes, his relationship with his collaborators, and his wry sense of humor no matter how grisly the subject matter. Mr. Winston is coming to Ludlow for this event courtesy of the Vermont Humanities Council.

Following this film, FOLA will be featuring three other great Hitchcock movies: March 12, “Rebecca;” March 19, “Vertigo;” and March 26, “The Birds.” Source:

François Truffaut’s besottedness (like that of his pals Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol) came out of a cinematic intelligence. First truth: there is more to Hitchcock than meets the eye and ear. (Don’t forget the ear. The train whistle in The 39 Steps, the tolling bell in Vertigo, the “Knife . . . knife” speech in Blackmail). Second truth: that “more” is expressed, nonetheless, through overwhelmingly eye-and-ear means. Sound, picture, symbol; juxtaposition of images; pure cinema. Not screeds of dialogue. Not star mummers mugging away. Not bestselling novels made box office.

What I came to sense and love in Hitchcock is this. He goes through the looking-glass. His films are about “ordinary” men or women travelling into mirror-world projections of themselves. His main characters think their adventures are taking them into another reality. But it isn’t. It’s their reality made large or oneiric. It’s an impish, punishing, cathartic reflection of their own personalities, fears, guilts, dreams. A journeyman would have made these shots zooms: quick, showy, pragmatically dramatic. Instead they have an organic, living feel — shot/reverse shot with a travelling camera —. A locked mystery is scary; a mystery about to be unlocked is scarier. Source:

Neyman (Miles Teller), like many a protagonist in pursuit of greatness, is asked to sacrifice for his own success. First to go is his dignity, as he absorbs Fletcher’s incessant barrage of insults, straying far from his drumming ability to his mother’s abandonment, and, most painfully, his father’s utterly average existence.  Shot by Sharone Meir, the exteriors, primarily lit in sickly greens, and reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s city paintings, depict a metropolis full of isolation. Even shots of the entire band tend to zoom in on Neyman, very rarely is the ensemble shown to share the frame. This is in part because Neyman either ignores or disdains all of his fellow musicians. The movie’s few interactions with those outside of the band act as critiques of Neyman’s closed-mindedness with varying results. 

For instance, his unapologetically brusque jilting of a nervous out-of-towner (Melissa Benoist) and his inability to win her back indicate the costs of his self-centeredness, self-aware as it may be. Other scenes are less interesting and feel more perfunctory, like an obligatory dinner scene with small-town cousins who just don’t get it. Source:

While most will rightfully be heralding Simmons as Whiplash‘s biggest asset, it is Teller who ultimately impresses the most. Chazelle presents most of the film in tight close ups of Andrew Neiman’s face, the majority of the time no words are even spoken to convey the tone of the scene — but with an apparent effortlessness Teller translates what he is suffering through to the audience without a word. The vacuum created by the lack of music in certain scenes also works amazingly to emphasize the loneliness and isolation of Andrew Neiman’s quest for greatness.

David Chazelle’s Whiplash is simply put, a masterpiece of performance anxiety. Whiplash‘s unflinching electricity will have you so tense in your seat, when the credits roll the impact will leave you both inspired and sore for days to come. Source:

David Chazelle: I think there’s a certain amount of damage that will always have been done. Fletcher will always think he won and Andrew will be a sad, empty shell of a person and will die in his 30s of a drug overdose. I have a very dark view of where it goes. That should have been a postscript at the end of the movie, “And at 30, he dies of a drug overdose.” It’s his funeral. And Fletcher is there. He gives the eulogy. “That ungrateful fucking brat.” Source:

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Hitchcock's favorite "Shadow of a Doubt": Teresa Wright's authoritative performance

“The world’s a hell! What does it matter what happens in it?” -Joseph Cotten as Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) - Alfred Hitchcock’s own favorite movie is far from the flash of his later great efforts. It doesn’t have show-stopping moments like the airplane attack in North By Northwest, the psychological pinwheels of Vertigo, or Psycho’s shower scene. But in a way, it’s more terrifying than any of those, because it points to a menace closer to home and heart.

Charlie’s dad and his friend (Hume Cronyn, in his film debut) read crime magazines and speculate on murder methods as a hobby, because the actual thing seems so far-removed. Uncle Charlie’s bleak sentiments that “The world is a foul sty… If you ripped the fronts off houses you’d find swine” are not unlike the theme that David Lynch would pull off in the first few moments of Blue Velvet, decades later: the perfect small-town landscape, hiding a festering ear underneath. Hitchcock isn’t that graphic here, but he doesn’t need to be: You may want to scratch the surface of boring paradise, but you may not be ready for what you might find there. Uncle Charlie suggests the evil lurking in each of us. It was one of Hitchcock’s favorite themes, and Shadow Of A Doubt translates it like no other film. Source:

While World War II raged and an allied victory was far from certain, Hitchcock and his writers constructed one of the cinema’s indisputable masterworks on the nature of evil. In this regard, Shadow of a Doubt could indeed be called a film about what theologians call original sin—a condition of selfishness, a conviction about a basically imperfect world, country, family, individual—radically incomplete, virtually defined by its need of transformation, of redemption. There is a direct, relentless moral honesty about this film, which stands as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s clearest statements about the ambiguity of the human condition.

Teresa Wright had been most enthusiastically recommended to Hitchcock by Thornton Wilder, who was chosen to write the screenplay for Shadow of a Doubt because the story was in many ways the dark underside of Our Town. The film charts the girl’s moral education as she progresses from innocence and untested idealism to a firsthand experience of the eruption of evil amid everyday reality—and the murderous tendency to depravity that is latent in human nature. 

Teresa filmed her role calmly, but inside she was, perhaps for the first time, tearing herself to pieces, enduring a nervous stomach and losing weight while, under Hitchcock’s tutelage, she thought out every moment of her character’s abrupt introduction to the darkness in human nature: “I had to understand how this woman felt. There’s no place you can go with cardboard, no depth.” Despite her anxiety, Teresa offered a virtual textbook in the art of film acting. “The shots of Wright,” wrote the novelist and critic Stephan Talty, “have the raw power of those early silent close-ups, one of the most lucidly beautiful in the cinema.” 

Teresa did not portray young Charlie as the killer’s victim, but—after her initial romantic infatuation for her uncle is destroyed by knowledge of his crimes—she plays young Charlie as his challenger, his rival. Hitchcock only rarely had a good word to say about actors, and he usually kept a polite distance from them. But he was uncharacteristically lavish in his praise: “I got along very well with Teresa. If she can’t act a line in a script, there’s something wrong with the line.” When Shadow of a Doubt was released in January 1943, the consensus was that the movie had succumbed to mediocrity; seventy years later, Shadow of a Doubt is rightly deemed a masterwork of the cinema. 

But even at the height of World War II, the critics applauded Teresa Wright. Howard Barnes of the New York Herald-Tribune commended her “quietly authoritative performance that elevated the film into a screen classic.” This was neither the first nor last time that a Hitchcock masterwork was overlooked for an industry award. In addition, many moviegoers, then and later, could not comprehend the absence of Teresa Wright’s name from the list of nominations for best actress of the year 1942. -"A Girl's Got to Breathe: The Life of Teresa Wright" (2016) by Donald Spoto

For the first time since his early years in Britain, Hitchcock, a director famous for his use of controlled sets, was forced to shoot on location to limit his set budget. At the same time, Hitchcock’s mother was gravely ill; restrictions on international travel prevented him from visiting her, and she died that September. An argument could be made that the prolonged illness and eventual death of Hitchcock’s mother during the shoot offered the filmmaker a certain sentimentality toward the Newton home in the film, which makes Uncle Charlie’s potential interruption of that familial unity all the more dreadful.

Hitchcock’s vision of Anytown, USA looks and feels like a Norman Rockwell painting for the Saturday Evening Post. Santa Rosa is gorgeous, clean, and intentionally corny, almost to the point of satire. Hitchcock's combination of stages and actual locations—his signature brand of cinematic realism—further emphasizes a world not entirely real and not completely safe. Hitchcock typically used master shots of actual locations, often landmark sites, which were later incorporated with sets replicating the locale. On Shadow of A Doubt, the only major set-piece was a replica of the Newton house, which could be taken apart and moved to fit the director’s needs for off-kilter camera angles that represented the distorted world of the film. Source:

“Shadow of a Doubt,” Alfred Hitchcock’s sixth American film, is not nearly as well known as some of the earlier, British films—“The 39 Steps,” “The Lady Vanishes”—or such later American masterpieces as “Strangers on a Train,” “Rear Window,” and “Vertigo.” Perhaps the quiet domestic setting of Santa Rosa and the lack of obvious camera flourishes account for the movie’s relative obscurity, and yet the somnolent town is treated with a tenderness that can only be called ironic and even malicious, and Hitchcock’s use of the camera has never been more assured. The movie is the most “psychological” of Hitchcock’s films, and the one with the clearest and most explicit exposition of evil, yet the director’s attitude is profoundly ambivalent. Goodness can be terrifying, too, and its collusion with evil is part of the movie’s enduring fascination. Source:

It was the stultifying routine of the household that depressed Charlie. But more troubling was the lack of love. Incest is the obscure subtext of Shadow of a Doubt. Emma worships Charles, but dismisses her husband as inconsequential. Charles, in giving the ring to his niece, seems to be taking her hand in marriage. By entering their home, Charles has perverted it, Joe's acquiescence allowing the seeds of destruction to be sown. Even with Uncle Charlie dead, a slow annihilation seems inevitable. -"An Illumined Illusion: Shadow of a Doubt" (2007) by Ian C. Bloom