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Touch of Evil (1958) (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray]

Charlton Heston , Janet Leigh , Orson Welles    Suitable for 12 years and over   Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
Price: £11.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Touch of Evil (1958) (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] + Double Indemnity [Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray) [1944] + The Lost Weekend [Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray) [1945]
Price For All Three: £29.26

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Product details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles
  • Directors: Orson Welles
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Nov 2011
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,895 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Considered by many to be the greatest B movie ever made, the original-release version of Orson Welles' film noir masterpiece Touch of Evil was, ironically, never intended as a B movie at all--it merely suffered that fate after it was taken away from writer-director Welles, then reedited and released in 1958 as the second half of a double feature. Time and critical acclaim would eventually elevate the film to classic status (and Welles' original vision was meticulously followed for the film's 1998 restoration), but for four decades this original version stood as a testament to Welles' directorial genius. From its astonishing, miraculously choreographed opening shot (lasting over three minutes) to Marlene Dietrich's classic final line of dialogue, this sordid tale of murder and police corruption is like a valentine for the cinematic medium, with Welles as its love-struck suitor. As the corpulent cop who may be involved in a border-town murder, Welles faces opposition from a narcotics officer (Charlton Heston) whose wife (Janet Leigh) is abducted and held as the pawn in a struggle between Heston's quest for truth and Welles' control of carefully hidden secrets. The twisting plot is wildly entertaining (even though it's harder to follow in this original version), but even greater pleasure is found in the pulpy dialogue and the sheer exuberance of the dazzling directorial style. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region B DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Alternative Footage, Black & White, Booklet, Commentary, Interactive Menu, Remastered, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Mexico's chief narcotics officer, Mike Vargas, is in a border town on a quick honeymoon with his American wife. Soon he must testify against Grandi, a drug lord whose brother and sons are tracking him, hoping to scare his wife and back him off the case. When a car bomb kills a rich U.S. developer, Vargas embroils himself in the investigation, putting his wife in harm's way. After Vargas catches local legendary U.S. cop, Hank Quinlan, planting evidence against a Mexican national suspected in the bombing, Quinlan joins forces with the Grandi family to impugn Vargas's character. Local political lackeys, a hard-edged whore, pachucos, and a nervous motel clerk also figure in the plot. Three versions of Welles' film: the 1998 reconstruction (in both 1.37:1 and 1.85:1 aspect ratios) the 1958 preview version rediscovered in the mid-1970s (in 1.85:1) and the 1958 theatrical version (in both 1.37:1 and 1.85:1). Original theatrical trailer for the film A host of other extras to be announced nearer the release date A lavish, illustrated, 56-page book containing the words of Orson Welles - and much more. ...Touch of Evil - 2-Disc Set (Blu-Ray)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Opening Sequence Ever? 11 July 2008
By Mr. G. C. Stone VINE VOICE
Dark, entertaining, messy, but very rewarding. My favourite Welles. Dietrich, Leigh & Heston on top form too. Sweaty, steamy, dark view of human falibility and complicity. But if it's not for you, this is a must see simply for the opening sequence: a complex, perfectly timed, almost balletic tracking shot as we follow a car through a mexican border town. Sit back and marvel at the genius who had the vision and the audicity to pull it off. Here's you money's worth already - regardless of the delights to follow. If you ever wondered what all the fuss was about with Welles, just invest your pennies in this and enjoy a mini masterclass.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a dark and twisted thriller 6 Jan 2005
A wild, quirky ride of corruption and intrigue, this noir thriller is brilliantly acted by Orson Welles and Charlton Heston, where Welles, as an American sleazy police chief investigating a murder in a Mexican border town, tangles with Heston, as his counterpart in the town. Welles was originally just slated to act in this film, but at the insistence of Heston, he was also made director.
The critical and box office response was poor however, and so disappointing to Welles, that he never made another film in Hollywood.
The cast is terrific: Janet Leigh plays Heston's naïve bride, and Akim Tamiroff one of the town's major bad guys. It also has a number of interesting cameos (though if you blink you might miss some of them), including Joseph Cotton, Keenan Wynn, Dennis Weaver, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mercedes McCambridge, and best of all, Marlene Dietrich, who looks up from her tarot cards to tell Welles "your future is all used up".
Russell Metty's cinematography is unique and innovative, and Henry Mancini's jazz score outstanding.
Peculiar and bizarre, this film needs more than one viewing to fully appreciate, and to sort out its complex plot of many crooked paths. Welles also wrote the script, and it is spoken in a realistic manner, with dialogue overlapping, and people talking at once.
Heston thankfully does not have accented English, but instead looks handsome with dark makeup and a mustache, on the other hand, Welles has a speech pattern that fits his seedy character, as he slurs and sputters through his words.
This is a stupendous, one-of-a-kind piece of filmmaking, now acknowledged as a classic noir.
DVD extras include Welles' memo, theatrical trailer, production notes, cast and filmmakers. The film has been beautifully restored, and total running time is 1 hour and 51 minutes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art 4 April 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Touch of Evil is a perfect demonstration of how even a modest small scale genre such as film noir can become a work of art in the hands of a genius, especially when that same genius is leading actor, script writer and director. Orson Welles takes what might have been a run of the mill tale about a dodgy murder investigation conducted by a ruthless, bigoted cop and turns it into an illuminating study in human nature. I first saw this film around 1970 on BBC-2's much-missed Midnight Movie slot and even in its studio release form it stood out as a gem. Now that we can see the film Orson Welles actually intended it to be it's even better, although personally I do rather miss that deliciously sleazy Henry Mancini score blaring over the opening credits.
This film is full of unforgettable moments like the first glimpse we get of Police Captain Quinlan. With the camera looking up from the gutter, a car door opens and Welles' huge bloated form completely fills the screen. This a man who isn't going to let anything get in his way. Metaphors too, the border town location fits well with the fact that Hank Quinlan's police methods have routinely crossed the line for so many years he no longer knows, or cares where the boundary between right and wrong is any more. But he's not a corrupt cop in the classic bribe-taking sense, he honestly believes that he's a force against evil. In his head, his ruthless methods, including planting evidence if that's what it takes, are justified by the ends. And it's his self-righteous certainty that makes him so dangerous.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He was a good detective, and a lousy cop" 11 Nov 2003
The greatest "B movie" of all time.
What started out as a contractual obligation of Orson Welles grew into the creation of a finely directed and competently acted masterpiece of cinema history. Adapted from the book "Badge of Evil" this is a story of police corruption along the Mexican border. This film has everything! The opening sequence illuminates the flawless cinematography (this is the five minute tracking of the car), superb acting (Of course, Orson Welles and Charlton Heston are in the picture) and genre defining one liners that have become cinema history (the final word from Marlene Dietrich - need I say anymore?). This is film noir at its most bewitching. Savour every second from one of the greatest films from cinema's golden age.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I write to respond to the negative reviews because I understand fully why some viewers, particularly Welles fans, might not just dislike Touch of Evil (TOE) but be infuriated as well. I have found myself disagreeing with the high praise accorded to some purported masterpieces such as Bringing Up Baby, Night of the Hunter, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, to name a few.

One level, much of TOE does seem sloppy, juvenile, inelegantly exaggerated and overblown -- both plot and acting. Some may still be attributed to the studio's handling of Welles' work; but, even the restored film can grate. Yes, even Heston, one of the more intelligent actors of his day, laughed at the idea of his casting as a Mexican police detective. He acquitted himself well, however, and mercifully did not attempt a Mexican accent.

Janet Leigh's character is embarrassingly foolish; but she brings out the smarmy smugness of many Americans' attitude towards Mexicans. The Amazon commentators did not mention the character played by Dennis Weaver that can only be called uncomfortably weird.

Yet, I find TOE completely fascinating and compelling, not like watching a train wreck, but because I think it is cinematic art true to Welles' world viewpoint. TOE at one level is a crime drama played out in the tension and contradictions of a border town: America vs. Mexico, intuitive policing vs. true detection, love vs. family corruption, justice vs. eliminating crime and other similar topics.

My take on TOE is that Welles presented not simply a crime story but, rather a crime story as a nightmare. Thus, much of the plot plays out with believable characters, credible events and plausible dialog.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent release
Excellent blu ray release with different cuts of the film.
Published 6 days ago by DaveM
1.0 out of 5 stars Low-grade transfer
Cinema Classic, maybe, but.................This old fuddy-duddy remembers watching the film when it first came out. Read more
Published 1 month ago by cristofori
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliance from the master himself: Orson Wells
Published 1 month ago by B Strachan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent just what I wanted. A great price and fast shipping form an excellent seller. Highly recommended A +++++++++++
Published 1 month ago by doberella
1.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in framing, but this is not a movie.
Although this film is a masterclass in framing and making sure all your characters are alive and acting in the frame, it is not a movie because the characters are not engaging nor... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Samuel Barber
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a good movie
A classick - one to watch- great movie and breat actors. Black and withe - no 2 on my list after Casablanca
Published 5 months ago by Et
5.0 out of 5 stars Criminals and cops
"Touch of Evil" has the honor of being the last film noir of the genre's golden age -- a dark, grimy story about a corrupt little Southwestern town. Read more
Published 6 months ago by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Touch of Evil
I used to like going to DVD shops to search for obscure DVDs, but they've nearly all gone now, - and they are cheaper on Amazon. This DVD is fine.
Published 6 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film
Its typical Orson Welles, bit slow moving, heavy, dark, yet extremely watchable. One of those winter days, fire on, box of cakes or whatever, sit back and enjoy films.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinema's greatest filmmaker at his best
TOUCH OF EVIL is a great noir made even greater by Orson Welles' miraculous cinematic instincts. Which version of the movie is best? Decide for yourself.
Published 11 months ago by Gary M. Gerani
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