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
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
Schmidlin put together following the 58 page directive with changes
that a furious Orson Welles demanded and sent to Universal after he,
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
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
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
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
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
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
Extras: A fine commentary audio track with Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh
and with the producer of the restored version of the film, Rick Schmidlin,
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
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