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
Janet Leigh was Orson Welles' first choice for the role of Susan. According to biographer Barbara Leaming, "Even before her agent had told her anything about Orson's offer, a puzzled Miss Leigh had received a telegram from the director to say how delighted he was that they would be working together. Correctly calculating that she would be as pleased by the idea of being directed by him as Charlton Heston was, Orson had figured that the telegram would get her at a lower price than if he had to negotiate with her agent first." See more »
At about the 50-minute mark, Vargas tells Quinlan that he knows the shoebox did not contain dynamite, and that ten minutes earlier he knocked it onto the bathroom floor and it was empty. But ten minutes earlier the audience saw Vargas knock the box into the bathtub, not onto the floor. See more »
Uh, you folks American citizens?
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In the 111-minute restored version, there are no credits at all until the end of the film. See more »
After crossing the border of Mexico to the United States of America, the bomb planted in the car of the wealthy businessman Rudy Linneker blows up in Los Robles. The Mexican Chief of Narcotics Miguel Vargas (Charlton Heston) is spending honeymoon with his American wife Susan Vargas (Janet Leigh) in the border town and will testify in the case of the drug dealer Grandi that is arrested in Mexico City. The idolized ex-alcoholic American Police Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) is in charge of the investigation since the murder happened in the American side of the border, but Mike Vargas participates as observer since the Mexican citizen Sanchez (Victor Millan) is the prime suspect. Meanwhile, Uncle Joe Grandi (Akim Tamitoff) unsuccessfully presses Susie, trying to convince her husband to drop the case. When Hank plants two dynamites in the house of Sanchez in a shoe box that Vargas had seen empty ten minutes before, he confronts Hanks. Joe Grandi witnesses their argument and associates to Hank to discredit Vargas, dishonoring Susie.
"Touch of Evil" is a masterpiece of malevolence and loss of humanity and one of my favorite movies ever. The long sequence in the beginning is in my opinion the best in cinema history, with a perfect timing. The black and white cinematography is amazing, with the perfect use of shadows and lighting. The story is fantastic and Orson Welles is awesome in the role of a despicable policeman that believes in his hunches, eternally grieves the loss of his wife and wishes to bring justice no matter the means and without any ethic. Janet Leigh performs a strong female character unusual in the 50's. Charlton Heston has also an unforgettable performance in the role of an ethical police office that is the opposite of Hank and prioritizes his work to his family, leaving his wife alone to seek the truth about his opponent. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "A Marca da Maldade" ("The Mark of the Malevolence")
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