The Power of Jewelry

Shadow of a Doubt gif of young Charlie (Teresa Wright) walking down stairs wearing the ring her Uncle Charlie gave her. (Which he had taken and she has now taken back into her possession.) From maudit’s tumblr.

Hitchcock has a tendency to use Jewelry in a way to show female beauty, male power, and greed. I feel that in Shadow of a Doubt  and To Catch a Thief that Hitchcock is using jewelry to show the lack of power the man holds of the female and the temptation that the jewelry holds.

Hitchcock uses jewelry to show many different things. In the first gif (of Charlie’s hand as she walks down the stairs) Hitchcock is using it to demonstrate male power, or lack there of. I feel that Hitchcock is using this to show how young Charlie now holds power over Uncle Charlie with this ring. She now holds the evidence she needs to prove that Uncle Charlie is the “Merry Widow Murderer.”  Before young Charlie finds out about the ring we believe that Uncle Charlie had all this money and nice things because of his mysterious job. Afterwards, she figures out where the ring truly came from. Uncle Charlie has made it clear to the audience at a point that he feels that women living off their dead husbands’ money is a waste. He hates the widows who clearly flaunt their money and spend it on ‘trivial things.’ (One thing being jewelry)

To Catch a Thief’s Frances (Grace Kelly) wearing an expensive necklace in an attempt to tempt John Robie (Cary Grant) . Also from maudit’s tumblr

I also feel in this that Frances, like young Charlie, is trying to use jewelry to hold power over a male character, John Robie. In Shadow of a Doubt young Charlie is using that ring to basically tell her uncle the gig is up, that she knows and now she has the proof she needs. He can no longer use his ‘power’ over her. Here in To Catch a Thief, up until this point jewelry has been used to show the status of the women who are stolen from. All the women are upper-class women who can afford expensive jewelry which attracts the thief to go after next.

In both of these movies I believe that Hitchcock is using the jewelry to show how women use jewelry to not only look beautiful but to show how much money the have in their possession, which can lead to their downfall. I also feel that Hitchcock is not only using the jewelry as an identifier of wealth but as a temptation as well. In Shadow of a Doubt, young Charlie is tempting her uncle to challenge her. She in this scene holds all the cards and dares him to try and stop her with all these people around. In, To Catch a Thief  Frances is on to John Robie, “the Cat” and wants him to try and steal from her. She knows who he is and is tempting his “inner thief” with an expensive necklace. These women are holding power, as little as it may be, over the male character in these two scenes (Uncle Charlie and John Robie). Young Charlie holds enough power to ‘convince’ her uncle to leave town, which eventually leads to his death at the end.

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