SUSPICION was director Alfred Hitchcock's first attempt at an hour long anthology format, broadcast during the third season of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, five years before expanding his namesake to THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR. It debuted with the only Hitchcock-directed episode "Four O'Clock," and lasted only one 42 episode season, the main difference being no host. "A Touch of Evil" boasts a fine cast but proves to be a middling entry, ending not with a bang but a whimper. Larry Gennaro (Harry Guardino) is in love with young Anna Rossi (Jacqueline Mayo), but her parents disapprove because he is married to a sweet yet ailing wife, Marguerite (Bethel Leslie). As much as they like and respect Larry, they cannot condone his mistreatment of Marguerite, and forbid him from seeing Anna any more. Larry owns a New Orleans lingerie boutique next to a repair shop run by Raphael (John Carradine), whose flirtatious sister Marie Farrell (Audrey Totter) would apparently do anything for Larry. In dreaming up ways to dispense with Marguerite, Larry tries to absolve himself of all guilt during a dinner engagement with Marie and her brother: "if you take a big evil and divide it up, so that a little bit of it rubs off on everybody, then nobody would be guilty of a big evil, right?" (hardly the same as making the H-bomb that leveled Hiroshima). For a fee of $300, Raphael is intrigued by the challenge of making a bomb that can be set to explode at a specific time, and with Marie delivering it Larry figures everything will work out in his favor. One wishes that the climax would prove just as explosive, but the buildup certainly doesn't lack interest. John Carradine enjoys a fair amount of screen time, hunched over and looking thoroughly guilty, Bethel Leslie as sympathetic as possible as Larry's unsuspecting spouse.
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