Reminiscences of Teresa Wright
New York, June 1959
On 'Shadow of a Doubt' and 'The Best Years
of Our Lives'
Q: You said "Shadow of a Doubt" was your favorite picture?
Yes, it is. I can't quite say why, but somehow the sum total of that
picture -- I thought it was a very good story, very well done; I liked the
character I played in it. Somehow I identified with her much more than
I have with any other character I played. I do think the picture "Best
Years of Our Lives" was a great film. However, I personally always
had a slight -- not exactly dislike -- but somehow I couldn't quite go along
with the girl I played, which people sometimes think is strange. I think
it summed itself up in the scene with the mother and father, where this
girl, Peggy, who is supposed to be a mature girl and understanding and
sensitive and intelligent -- mature beyond her years -- conducts this scene,
with her parents, and supposed to be all these things, where she's defending
her own right to break up a marriage which she decided is not good, she
turns on her parents and says, "You've forgotten what it's like to
be in love."
Somehow, to me, it was always so damn stupid and insensitive that
I could never really like her. I just thought, "You poop." How
can you believe this is a sensitive, intelligent person, and that she's
capable of saying this? Well, of course people are capable of saying many
stupid things in anger and self-pity. I suppose that's the answer. But
somehow there was something about her I didn't quite go with completely,
whereas the girl in "Shadow"
-- I felt strength in her; she was an interesting person I liked.
. . .
Most of the things I've done I haven't liked. What I mean is, in
the case of "Best Years,"
I loved the total picture and I loved many aspects of it, but somehow I
resented something about this girl. Perhaps I identified very much, if
I felt that strongly abut her saying something I didn't like.
. . .
In this, it was essential to the story. It was part of her character.
What I mean is, since she had that in her character, I'd like to have seen
it emphasized a little more. She was drawn as a rather noble girl, and
this didn't go along with it. It was right -- it was absolutely right --
it shouldn't have been changed, for the story. I just personally didn't
© 1959 Columbia University and the Oral History Research Office