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Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 21 May 1958 (USA)
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A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the novel "Badge Of Evil" by)
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Top Rated Movies #199 | 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
...
Marcia Linnekar
...
...
Valentin de Vargas ...
Pancho (as Valentin De Vargas)
...
Victor Millan ...
Manelo Sanchez
Lalo Rios ...
Risto
Michael Sargent ...
Pretty Boy
Phil Harvey ...
Blaine
...
Zita
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Storyline

Mexican Narcotics officer Ramon Miguel 'Mike' Vargas has to interrupt his honeymoon on the Mexican-US border when an American building contractor is killed after someone places a bomb in his car. He's killed on the US side of the border but it's clear that the bomb was planted on the Mexican side. As a result, Vargas delays his return to Mexico City where he has been mounting a case against the Grandi family crime and narcotics syndicate. Police Captain Hank Quinlan is in charge on the US side and he soon has a suspect, a Mexican named Manolo Sanchez. Vargas is soon onto Quinlan and his Sergeant, Pete Menzies, when he catches them planting evidence to convict Sanchez. With his new American wife, Susie, safely tucked away in a hotel on the US side of the border - or so he thinks - he starts to review Quinlan's earlier cases. While concentrating on the corrupt policeman however, the Grandis have their own plans for Vargas and they start with his wife Susie. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Strangest Vengeance Ever Planned! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 May 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Badge of Evil  »

Box Office

Budget:

$829,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$70,725 (USA) (11 September 1998)

Gross:

$2,237,659 (USA) (1 January 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1998 alternate) | (1975 alternate) | (director's cut) | (DVD edition) | (restored)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles claimed to have only read "Badge of Evil" by Whit Masterson, the novel on which the film was based, after he completed the film. He based his rewrite of the screenplay upon Paul Monash's initial treatment. See more »

Goofs

As the night-man leads Vargas to cabin seven, Vargas jumps from his right side to his left at a cut. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Border Cop: Uh, you folks American citizens?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening statement (restored version): In 1957, Orson Welles completed principal photography on TOUCH OF EVIL and edited the first cut. Upon screening the film, the Studio felt it could be improved, shot additional scenes and re-edited it. Welles viewed this new version and within hours wrote a passionate 58-page memo requesting editorial changes. This version represents an attempt to honor those requests and make TOUCH OF EVIL the film Orson Welles envisioned it to be. "... I close this memo with a very earnest plea that you consent to this brief visual pattern to which I gave so many long hard days of work." -- Orson Welles See more »

Connections

Referenced in L.A. Noire (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Son of Raunchy
Written by Henry Mancini
Performed by United International Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
not all it's cracked up to be
5 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm an admirer of Welles, his use of the single take, and his camera technique, but I'm not a big fan of this too unstructured movie. It's a great six minute opening shot in search of a decent story. Just as Leigh kisses Heston and they are interrupted by an explosion, a rather tiresome movie begins. She is instantly carted off to the sidelines to sit around passing time in a pointless sidebar, that feature Mercedes McCambridge as either the first lesbian to take part in a rape on film, or the first time a woman is cast as a man to put one over on the audience. Seemingly every race but an actual Mexican will do here in portraying the Mexican roles, no matter how absurd the casting; uber-Caucasian Charlton Heston, or German Marlene Dietrich. None of this would matter if the movie were any good, but it's two inter-cut holding patterns that have no tension and nothing filmic going for them (except maybe composition) once that first shot is over. At the re-release of the respectfully recut version, people were just laughing at the over-dramatic, hoary script of the last half hour. I was more respectful but I could understand their reaction.

Welles could fastidiously conceive and execute single set-pieces like no one else, but he just didn't didn't have much interest in making whole films after his first two (Kane & Ambersons). His Othello is also a terrible mess.

Give me Torneur's "Out of the Past" over this. This is a whole lot of fuss (and technique) about nothing.


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