Touch of Evil (1958)


Nordic Universal Blu-ray edition and to the right the old DVD edition

A Late Masterpiece of Film Noir from The Master of Film - Orson Welles

A Visually mindboggling Noirish thriller about corruption and murder from the Genius Orson Welles when he yet again had been offered full artistic
freedom and a decent budget (almost that is as he didn't have the right to cut the final version) and the result - beyond amazing.

This 111 minutes long version is NOT Welles original version as this doesn't exist anymore due to Universal cutting it into smithereens, and neither
is it the massacred and re-cut Theatrical version that Universal released once upon a time when it was shown in theatres. This is the version Rick
Schmidlin put together following the 58 page directive with changes that a furious Orson Welles demanded and sent to Universal after he, shocked,
had seen the slaughtered Universal version. So, this is the closest to Welles vision of the film we can get today (until the original film is found).
In this case Welles went to Mexico and the film company shredded his film, and 15 years earlier Welles went to Argentina or Brazil and the film company
shredded his even greater Masterpiece - The Magnificent Ambersons.

A King Actor

Charlton Heston plays the role of Mexican cop Ramon Vargas who's on his way over the border into USA on a honeymoon with his wife Susan (the
oh so lovely Janet Leigh) when he's drawn into a murder investigation led by the shabby and slimy corrupted to his bone crime-cop Hank Quinlan,
played by Orson Welles in an unforgettable manner. Absolute genius King Acting as you stare at him mesmerized when he steal every scene his in,
just filling the screen up, obliterating all other actors (except Marlene Dietrich) daring to share the screen-space with him.
Welles has changed the roles compared with the pretty good but obscure crime novel by Whit Masterson, Hank is not the bad guy in the novel.
No-one mentions this in the Extras, but maybe they hadn't read the pulp story?

Unforgettable also is Marlene Dietrich in the role as a Gypsy Bar and/or Bordello owner. She's the one who, when the assistent of the District attorney
asks her what she did see in Hank Quinlan, ends the film with her famous line - "He Was Some Kind of a Man" and then she walks away into the night.
So cool and Goosebumps for any Cineaste as the charisma around Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich (in her guest role) just sparkles.
Another thing that isn't mentioned in the Extras is the Homage in the Elmore Leonard novel based film Get Shorty where small-time gangster and filmlover
Chilli Palmer, played by John Travolta, almost with tears in his eyes repeats this ending line from Touch of Evil to his girlfriend.

The Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen 1.85:1 with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 english audio, black & white, and with swedish and english subs.
Extras: A fine commentary audio track with Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and with the producer of the restored version of the film, Rick Schmidlin, and
yet another audio commentary track with Rick Schmidlin where he deep-dives into the re-construction of the film following Welles 58-page directive.
Two documentaries: 1. Bringing Evil to Life (21 minutes, 2008) with Heston, Leigh, Dennis Weaver and some fans of the film, as director Robert Wise
2. Evil Lost and Found (17 minutes, 2008) and a theatrical trailer

DVD edition was presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1, mono english audio and black&white. Extras: Welles memo, trailer, production notes, bios


Back to Film Noir page