best film:  Teresa Wright is in three unassailable films that are at, or near, the masterpiece level. William Wyler’s deep focus spectacle The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) stands atop the list – but Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and the vastly underseen and underrated Track of the Cat (1954) by William Wellman are not far behind.



Teresa Wright in 1946’s The Best Years of Our Lives. The best of her three remarkable collaborations with William Wyler



best performance:   There are but two options here. With all due respect to Wright, she does not have much of an impact on the brilliance of Track of the Cat. She is, however, an intrinsic part of both The Best Years of Our Lives and Shadow of a Doubt. She plays young Charlie in Hitchcock’s film. She is opposite Joseph Cotton (Uncle Charlie) and a fabulous sympathetic victim/protagonist. In Wyler’s film, admittedly more of an ensemble piece, she plays Dana Andrews’ love interest and Frederic March’s (and Myrna Loy’s) daughter – but Wright’s underlying honesty makes her Peggy character much more than just a wife and/or daughter.



Wright is fantastic in Hitchcock’s cat and mouse thriller Shadow of a Doubt – his finest film to date when released in 1943



stylistic innovations/traits:  Teresa Wright an undeniable talent that had a hot streak in the 1940s.  Her first four films are all archiveable – and five of her five six (including those three Oscar nominations). She had a proclivity for playing fundamentally good characters – but that candor up on screen takes talent to make come across. Wright did not have a large filmography. The Little Foxes is her debut (an Oscar nomination at that in her debut) and there are only about eighteen (18) total film credits when you crop out the television work that took over her resume around 1955 and beyond. This means her best five performances all happened before the age of twenty-eight (28).  Still, there is some depth here – she has three Oscar nominations. She is one of a dozen or so actors (Julianne Moore did this, Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, others) with two acting nominations in the same year (1942) winning for supporting in Mrs. Miniver. These nominations by Wright are earned – and yet they are not her two best performances. This give her a rock solid top five below.


directors worked with:   William Wyler (3), Alfred Hitchcock (1), Raoul Walsh (1), Fred, Zinneman (1)


top five performances:

  1. Shadow of a Doubt
  2. The Best Years of Our Lives
  3. Mrs. Miniver
  4. The Little Foxes
  5. The Pride of the Yankees


archiveable films

1941- The Little Foxes
1942- The Pride of the Yankees
1942- Mrs. Miniver
1943- Shadow of a Doubt
1946- The Best Years of Our Lives
1947- Pursued
1950- The Men
1954- Track of the Cat