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Boston Globe (28/Apr/1991) - A Hitchock classic is revived



A Hitchock classic is revived

Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1943 thriller "Shadow of a Doubt" is recast Sunday night at 9 as a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation on Channels 6 and 7.

The story of a young girl (Teresa Wright) who slowly comes to suspect that her beloved Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is a murderer has been described by some critics as pure Americana.

"Doubt" was said to be Hitchcock's favorite picture. "The story line he loved best was the notion of menace finding its way into the lives of ordinary people," Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia O'Connell, said.

The television production stars Mark Harmon ("Long Road Home") as Uncle Charlie and Margaret Welsh ("Mr. and Mrs. Bridge") as his niece/namesake Charlie.

Diane Ladd ("Wild at Heart") is Uncle Charlie's sister, Emma.

The new script, by John Gay ("Inherit the Wind," "Blind Faith"), is based on the original screenplay by playwright Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville (Hitchcock's wife), with story by Gordon McDonnell that formed the basis for the original movie.

Karen Arthur, the director of the new version, says Harmon brings a new dimension to the role of Uncle Charlie.

"Joseph Cotten played Uncle Charlie very dark, very evil, an obvious psychotic," she says. "Mark Harmon brings something different to the character. Uncle Charlie is really a charmer. He really has a boy-next-door quality about him. He fits into this town; he belongs with these people."

"Mark Harmon's Uncle Charlie is Americana personified. So when we learn that he's been going around murdering rich widows, it comes as a real shock."

Harmon says neither he nor Arthur is spooked by re-working Hitchcock.

"Just like I'm not intimidated by playing the character that Joseph Cotten played in the original, Karen's not intimidated by the legacy of Alfred Hitchcock. She's not a self-doubter and that's the kind of person I like to work with," he says.

"With any great piece of original material, you know it's open to different interpretations, different attitudes," he says. "We're giving a vital, contemporary slant to a classic original."