Touch of Evil
One of the classic American crime thrillers, Touch of Evil was written and directed by Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, F for Fake)… and also features him as a nefarious co-star. The story begins on the border of the United States and Mexico when a bomb goes off in a slow-moving car, killing its driver. Though on American soil, the bomb is believed to have been planted south of the border, and Mexican narcotics officer 'Mike' Vargas (inexplicably played by Charlton Heston) delays his honeymoon to get on the case, returning to his work against the Grandi crime syndicate, while his wife (Janet Leigh) waits across town. Keep your eyes peeled for the inimitable Marlene Dietrich as Tanya, a brothel owner and Zsa Zsa Gabor as the proprietor of a local strip club.
Why You Should See This Film
Widely regarded as one of Welles' best films, Touch of Evil features a truly nail-biting opening tracking shot that needs to be seen on the (Golden) screen to believed, clocking in at over 3 minutes of unbearable tension. This scene and the film in general has been widely influential, with Paul Thomas Anderson paying homage with the opening shot of Boogie Nights, along with references in films such as Ed Wood, The Player, Bowfinger, Get Shorty, In Bruges, and Phantom of the Paradise to name just a few. It’s high time you ticked this noir classic off your list.
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- Year: 1958
- Rating: M
- Director: Orson Welles
- Cast: Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh
- Duration: 95 minutes
- Language: English