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Touch Of Evil [DVD]
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Orson Welles writes, directs and stars in this classic film noir. Set in a hellish Mexican border town, Charlton Heston stars as Mike Vargas, a self-righteous narcotics officer who goes up against the monumental Captain Hank Quinlan (Welles), an old-time detective who fabricates evidence in order to close a case based on his gut instinct. After an American businessman is killed by a car bomb, Vargas abandons his honeymoon to investigate. When he discovers the corrupt Quinlan planting evidence, Vargas decides to delve further into the captain's previous cases but he soon finds out first-hand the extreme lengths Quinlan will go to to preserve his reputation.
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But it is not a perfect film - a bit let down by the script. Especially the part of the wife (Janet Leigh) of lead character Vargas (Charlton Heston) is badly written - her behaviour and the choices she makes in the film are quite hard to understand and this undermines the whole story. The shootout at the end seemed a bit forced as well, wrapping things up nicely but ludicrously hasty - just seconds after the showdown between good cop Vargas and bad cop Quinlan Vargas' wife shows up in their car, Vargas gets in and drives away into the distance. I don't need to see all the necessary paperwork required here, but this is a bit much.
However, if you're willing to look past the script's flaws this film is fantastic in every other department and cast very well (except perhaps the caricature of a motel night manager). Highly recommended.
Because I still think that the film, as a whole, is less great than single scenes.
It feels like Welles, in his constant and genius re-thinking of cinema and genres, ended up to focus too much on creating stunning scenes and stressing on the noir moods than to keep up the rhythm of the film, which should also come from script, characters and an organic continuum of scenes and moments, where the story unfolds because of characters' motifs instead of his creator's pleasure of manipulating things and people, just to shock and surprise the audience. Basically, it is a fantastic post-modern film, made ages before postmodernism (like Tarantino), resulting to be too cold and "planned". Still I find it enourmously entertaining and, if it is even for the opening sequence, and the bitter closing line, it should be bought with no second thoughts.
Remastering is spectacular and extras are great.
The first attempt to reconstruct the director's cut was made in Italy in the late eighties by the authors of a late night public tv show, who got hold of the negative and screened that version on tv.
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