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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Opening Sequence Ever?
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...
Published on 11 July 2008 by Mr. G. C. Stone

versus
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. This review is not about the film but of its quality on the DVD that I received....From my cinema seat (1958): the opening of this photographic masterpiece was in 'low key', the night was bright, even the subtle shadows had detail: so perfectly exposed were...
Published 4 days ago by cristofori


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie. Powerful acting and interesting characters, 9 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Touch Of Evil [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. At times the older movies can be dated or hokie. This film remains very powerful. Orson Welles is terrific and downright despicable. Heston does an excellent job and Leigh is gorgeous. I highly recommend this movie. Seedy, dark and,in its own way, funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Evil., 3 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Touch of Evil (1958) (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is most definitively Orson Welles best movie next to Citizen Kane. Pure evil ;-)
This Eureka! edition is a pure treat with all these different versions and lots of extra's and reading material.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welles: the legacy lives on, 28 Feb 2004
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Touch Of Evil [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Welles was light years ahead of his contemporaries. So much so, it's not hard to understand why the studio system shunned his vast, innovative talent, and more particularly his vast, insatiable ego. Every aspect of Touch of Evil, a flawed epic if ever there was one, shows the touch of genius within Welles - the breathtaking cinematography, the camera angles, the quirky approach to script and plotting, use of sound and music.
I doubt if there is one serious director today who does not owe a debt to the groundbreaking work by Welles. Even Hitchcock appear to have learned lessions (see any parallels between the studied stylisation in Touch of Evil and the master's approach to Psycho?
Listen, watch and learn how it all began!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A citizen`s cane, 23 Jun 2012
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Touch Of Evil [DVD] (DVD)
This is a film that makes lovers of film as an art form go the the cinema or, these days, watch DVDs of classic movies like this, films that define what is possible in the medium. From the justly famous unbroken opening tracking shot onward, this is riveting, euphoric film-making, a celluloid fever dream.
Welles inherited the direction of this depraved, sweaty masterpeice when Charlton Heston, already earmarked as its Mexican leading man, suggested he not only come on board as corrupt police chief Hank Quinlan - one of cinema`s great grotesques - but take over the reins of the film itself. Never being a favourite actor of mine, to say the least, I have little to thank Heston for, but his hunch was inspired as much as the performance he gives is one of the best of his life.
Every frame of this uniquely mad movie is worthy of study. Mad? It`s bonkers! There have been a few truly perverse films, such as Woman Of The Dunes or one or two of Sam Fuller`s hectic dramas, but none so relishing of its own perspiring perversity as this piece of pure cinema. If you want to find out what Touch Of Evil (from a pulp novel called, less enigmatically, Badge Of Evil) is about - well, don`t ask me. See it. Give yourself to its eccentric virtuosity. Watch it when you need something that out-noirs noir. It was made as late as 1958 when Welles was still only 43, but already massive (that ain`t padding) but it looks, in its shadowy, murky black-and-white, like a greasy remnant from film noir`s heady heyday in the forties.
Russell Metty, one of the era`s great cinematographers, shot the film, and should be remembered for his work on it if for nothing else. Welles already had, among others, Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Stranger, and two Shakespeares under his straining belt by this time, and one wonders how much thought he actually put into this delirious folly. It must have been manna from heaven to the onetime boy genius, while at the same time being perhaps merely another `exercise` to lesser mortals in how to fashion a bleakly riveting entertainment out of very raw material.
And look at the cast he had to play with!
Marlene Dietrich was seldom used so intelligently or indulged less. Her steady gaze at both Welles/Quinlan and at us is at the same time deadpan and fatefully sad. Their two scenes together are, in their way, strangely touching.
Joseph Calleia (ex-opera singer, born Malta 1897) so effective in Gilda a decade earlier, is superb as a decent man who can`t bring himself to believe in Quinlan`s duplicity. A very fine, underused actor.
Akim Tamiroff (Born Baku Russia, 1899) is wonderful as a man whose wig slips as often as his allegiances. He and Welles, who made other films together, are terrific in their scenes, especially the one involving a bed and a drugged Janet Leigh.
Ah, Janet Leigh. Two years before she checked into the Bates motel, it is often forgotten that she was driven to a far more secluded motel, if a less fatal one. Here she is used and (possibly) abused by a group of characters led by a Welles favourite, the lavishly named Mercedes McCambridge - she provided Linda Blair`s `devil voice` in The Exorcist fifteen years later - who appears far too briefly. The ostensible manager of this deserted desert motel is a nervy, badly dressed no-hoper played by one of Hollywood`s finest and most underrated actors, Dennis Weaver. This was some years before his duel with a monster truck in Spielberg`s Duel, but the watchable spark is there. A great, too often overlooked actor in the making.
This is also a film in which Zsa Zsa Gabor, who could barely act, can appear for a few seconds in a bar, and probably give the best value she ever gave in a film, because used sparingly.
Heston gives a performance which may well bewilder fans of the monolithic legend. He is invited to be a Mexican cop, and a newly-married man who deserts his wife at every opportunity (a thread running through this bracingly callous film that you can take or leave) and Heston the actor acquits himself well, particularly in his scenes with the very different Welles, who loved mischievous theatricality, overlapping dialogue, lines left hanging in the fetid air. Heston is forced to partly abandon his slow-drawling way of speech, his natural heroism, and certain other mannerisms that drive some of us to avoid him in other films.
The vastness that called itself Orson Welles is incredible, implausible, detestably lovable, carelessly brilliant, a creature of theatre who barged into film as inexorably as he cruised into legend with his passing. How he is missed, however much he was forced, or led by financial concerns, to squander his genius in later years. And how I wish too that he`d acted with Olivier, Brando, Nicholson...kindred spirits all, in their disparate ways.
The relevance of Quinlan`s filmically punning cane? I`ll leave interested parties to find that out for themselves.
The score is by, of all people, Henry Mancini. It`s perfect.
This is a fabulous, one-off film that anyone who loves what films can do should make sure they see. Along with The Third Man - another perverse, `mad` picture - it is one of the most wondrous films I`ve ever seen.
A very guilty pleasure.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welles' Noir Masterpiece, 2 Mar 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Touch Of Evil [DVD] (DVD)
This 1958 noir masterpiece is (by far) my favourite Orson Welles film, not only from the standpoint of his direction, but also in terms of the bravura acting performance he delivers here. Shot brilliantly in claustrophobic black and white by stalwart Hollywood cinematographer Russell Metty (Douglas Sirk's regular DoP, who also won the Oscar for Spartacus), Touch Of Evil is one of the seminal productions of the film noir genre.

In typical Welles fashion, Touch Of Evil is not only a brooding and atmospheric thriller, but is also one of the most innovative visual films from its period (following on, of course, from the groundbreaking techniques he used on Citizen Kane). From the extended tracking shot which opens the film, following honeymooning(!) couple Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston, in his best screen performance) and his wife Susy (Janet Leigh) who are witness to the film's explosive opening, we know we are in for another cinematic tour-de-force from this master director. Thereafter, Welles displays his visual dexterity in the liberal sprinkling throughout the film of repeated tracking and crane shots, brilliantly oppressive close-ups and stylistically distinctive tilted framing shots.

Touch of Evil's narrative centres around the moral and intellectual tussle between Heston's Mexican interloper cop Vargas and Welles' corrupt and (literally) larger-than-life creation Captain Hank Quinlan, whose first appearance in the film, as he emerges from his car as the overcoat-clad, cigar-chomping, behemoth, is one of the film's standout scenes. Set on the Mexican/US border, Welles' film also highlights the overt racism present in the local communities, as Leigh's Susy is lured to meet local bigwig gangster Uncle Joe Grandi (a superb Akim Tamiroff) and mocked for her use of the phrase 'poncho' to describe the locals, and, later in the film, as he is about to return to the US side of the border, Quinlan quips 'let's get back to civilisation'. As it becomes clear to Vargas that Quinlan will stop at nothing (including framing suspects) to obtain a conviction for the recent murder, the Mexican cop vows to bring the corrupt Quinlan to justice.

The film is littered with brilliant set-piece scenes, including a disturbing sequence where Susy is terrorised by Grandi's henchmen (and women) in a remote motel room - incidentally, the setting for this scene cannot avoid recalling actress Leigh's other famous motel room scene, which came two years later in Hitchcock's Psycho. There are also brilliant framing shots of Grandi's dead face (lit by an intermittantly flashing light) appearing to Susy, and also of Quinlan, as he slouches in gypsy Tanya's (Marlene Dietrich) boudoir, framed next to a giant bull's head mounted on the wall. But, for me, the outstanding sequence is that at the end of the film, where Heston's Vargas is attempting to entrap Quinlan via the recording device hidden on Quinlan's assistant cop Pete Menzies (also superbly played by Joseph Calleia). This extended night scene, and tracking shot, which follows its protagonists over various pieces of machinery, oil rigging, etc, is reminiscent, in terms of its visual feel and the level of suspense generated, of other brilliant climactic scenes, such as that from The Third Man, where Welles is followed through Vienna's sewers, and even the tense, climactic fairground scene from Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train.

Performance-wise, in addition to those mentioned above (Welles, Heston, Tamiroff, Dietrich and Calleia), mention should also be made of Harry Shannon as Chief Gould, Dennis Weaver (of Duel and McCloud fame) who delivers a brilliant cameo performance as the motel night manager, and Joseph Cotton who appears (uncredited) as the coroner.

Another standout feature is the film's soundtrack, written by the legendary Henry Mancini (he of Pink Panther theme fame!), who delivers a brilliantly jazzy and sultry score, which is at times reminiscent of that of Bernstein's music for West Side Story.

In summary, a cinematic and acting tour-de-force, and one that is essential viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece ., 20 July 2013
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This review is from: Touch of Evil (1958) (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is, perhaps , one of the greatest films noir ever .
Orson Welles conception is at last restored as he conceived it .
In razor sharp Blue Ray .
Non stop edge of seat experience from beginning to end.
Orson Welles performance as actor and director simply staggering .
Birgir Gudgeirsson .
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar Cast In Classy Obscure Noir, 13 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Touch of Evil (1958) (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I had never heard of this title when it popped up on the DVD review site I peruse but after a quick read of what exactly I was seeing I was pretty sure I wanted to see it.

Written, directed by and co-starring Orson Welles (no introduction needed), starring a bizzarely made up to be Mexican Charlton Heston (before Ben Hur) and Janet Leigh (before Psycho) this is more Hitchcock than Hitchcock!!! A cracking film noir, just at the end of the great noir period apparently, the movie opens with a dizzyingly complicated 3 plus minutes tracking shot and ends with a delicious twist in its dark tail.

Its a story of two distinct branches of Law Enforcement dealing with, broadly, cross cultural hatred, terrorism, narcotics, murder, double crossing and intrigue. Wonderfully shot the tale unravels imaginatively under the direction of Welles, who apparently encouraged his co stars to help with dialogue and scripting.

In 1958 the finished film was roughly edited by Welles, who was very happy with the result, but destroyed later by studio execs who thought it better to tamper with the work of a film making genius. Only 50 years later do we now get to see the film as close as possible to how the great man intended it. And it looks great.

With great performances from all the players, especially Welles as tough talking detective Hank Quinlan, a moody atmosphere and a typically unsettling score the film ticks all the boxes and deserves the status of a noir classic.

Also, kudos must go, as always, to the Eureka Masters Of Cinema series as this blu ray edition is simply fantastic. 5 versions of the movie in their proper aspect ratio, 4 commentaries, 2 worthwhile featurettes and an extemely insightful book. Top class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film noir from Mr Wells., 17 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Touch Of Evil [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD has English subtitles. Sound and vision good.
This classic film has the famous long opening scene that identifies it as one of the great films of modern times.
The close, sweaty, sickly feel of muggy days and nights in a hot border town is well defined throughout and the unusual angled shots and atmospheric lighting really support the increasing menace of the main protagonist. The plot moves along at a good pace and the film showcases some terrific performances, particularly from Ms Dietrich and Mr Wells.
Recommended just for the opening scene!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatness of Welles, 4 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Touch Of Evil [DVD] (DVD)
The fame of this film noir is justified. The genius of Welles is evident in his portrayal of an arrogant and corrupt police lietenant and in his direction, particularly evident in the famous opening sequences in a border town on the USA- Mexican frontier,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good film with brilliant performance by Orson Welles, 19 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Touch of Evil (1958) (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I rated this 4/5.It was very good with great oerformances all round.Great cameos from Marlene and Joseph Cotton.Janet Leigh was also very good.
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