IMDb > Touch of Evil (1958)
Touch of Evil
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Touch of Evil (1958) More at IMDbPro »

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Touch of Evil -- Stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in Mexican border town.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   57,461 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Orson Welles (screenplay)
Whit Masterson (based on the novel "Badge Of Evil" by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Touch of Evil on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 May 1958 (UK) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The Overwhelming Drama of a Strange Vengeance See more »
Plot:
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
5 wins & 1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(222 articles)
At All Costs: Yann Danh talks about A Tout Prix
 (From Flickeringmyth. 21 June 2014, 4:30 AM, PDT)

Orson Welles’ Touch Of Evil Blu-ray Review
 (From Collider.com. 10 June 2014, 3:39 AM, PDT)

Full Disclosure 2014 The Directors Cut: Orson Welles
 (From Twitch. 1 June 2014, 2:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
A Great Detective, A Lousy Cop, And Some Kind Of Man See more (252 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charlton Heston ... Mike Vargas

Janet Leigh ... Susan Vargas

Orson Welles ... Police Captain Hank Quinlan

Joseph Calleia ... Police Sergeant Pete Menzies

Akim Tamiroff ... 'Uncle' Joe Grandi

Joanna Moore ... Marcia Linnekar

Ray Collins ... District Attorney Adair

Dennis Weaver ... Mirador Motel Night Manager
Valentin de Vargas ... Pancho (as Valentin De Vargas)
Mort Mills ... Al Schwartz
Victor Millan ... Manelo Sanchez
Lalo Rios ... Risto
Michael Sargent ... Pretty Boy
Phil Harvey ... Blaine

Joi Lansing ... Zita
Harry Shannon ... Chief Gould

Marlene Dietrich ... Tana

Zsa Zsa Gabor ... Strip-Club Owner
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe Basulto ... Young Delinquent (uncredited)
Yolanda Bojorquez ... Bobbie (uncredited)

Joseph Cotten ... Coroner (uncredited)
Domenick Delgarde ... Lackey (uncredited)
Jennie Dias ... Jackie (uncredited)
John Dierkes ... Policeman (uncredited)
Eleanor Dorado ... Lia (uncredited)
Jeffrey Green ... Rudy Linnekar (uncredited)
Billy House ... Construction Site Foreman (uncredited)

Mercedes McCambridge ... Gang Leader (uncredited)
Arlene McQuade ... Ginnie (uncredited)
Ken Miller ... Gang Member (uncredited)
Ramón Rodríguez ... Gang Member (uncredited)
Gus Schilling ... Eddie Farnham (uncredited)
William Tannen ... Marcia Linnekar's Attorney (uncredited)
Wayne Taylor ... Gang Member (uncredited)
Rusty Wescoatt ... Detective Casey (uncredited)

Dan White ... Customs Officer (uncredited)

Keenan Wynn ... Bit Part (uncredited)
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Directed by
Orson Welles 
 
Writing credits
Orson Welles (screenplay)

Whit Masterson (based on the novel "Badge Of Evil" by)

Franklin Coen  contributing writer: reshoots (uncredited)
Paul Monash  additional scenes (uncredited)

Produced by
Albert Zugsmith .... producer
 
Original Music by
Henry Mancini (music)
 
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Walter Murch (1998 re-edit)
Aaron Stell (film editor)
Virgil W. Vogel (film editor) (as Virgil Vogel)
Edward Curtiss (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Robert Clatworthy 
Alexander Golitzen 
 
Set Decoration by
John P. Austin (set decorations)
Russell A. Gausman 
 
Costume Design by
Bill Thomas (gowns)
 
Makeup Department
Bud Westmore .... makeup
Merle Reeves .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Vincent Romaine .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Maurice Seiderman .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Monty Westmore .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Foster Thompson .... unit production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Phil Bowles .... assistant director
Harry Keller .... director: reshoots (uncredited)
Terence Nelson .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Leslie I. Carey .... sound
Frank H. Wilkinson .... sound (as Frank Wilkinson)
Peter Berkos .... sound editor (uncredited)
Robert L. Bratton .... sound editor (uncredited)
Donald Cunliffe .... sound technician (uncredited)
Ed Hall .... sound technician (uncredited)
George Ohanian .... dialogue editor (uncredited)
Walter White .... sound technician (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Kevin Braun .... lead digital compositor (1998 restoration)
Kevin Braun .... visual effects supervisor (1998 restoration)
Sandy DellaMarie .... digital production coordinator (1998 restoration)
Chris Flynn .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration)
Mark Freund .... visual effects supervisor (1998 restoration)
George Gervan .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration)
Richard Gervan .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration)
Maureen Healy .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration)
Lynn Tigar .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration)
 
Stunts
David Sharpe .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Sherman Clark .... still photographer (uncredited)
Ledge Haddow .... assistant camera (uncredited)
James V. King .... camera operator: Venice canal locations (uncredited)
Philip H. Lathrop .... camera operator (uncredited)
John L. Russell .... camera operator (uncredited)
Clifford Stine .... camera operator: additional photography (uncredited)
Roy Vaughn .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Claire Cramer .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Adam Gottbetter .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Nevada Penn .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Eric Aijala .... negative restoration (1998 restoration)
Sean Cullen .... assistant editor (1998 restoration)
Bob O'Neil .... picture restoration (1998 restoration)
Ernest J. Nims .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Joseph Gershenson .... music supervision by
Richard Nash .... musician: trombone (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Armondo Linus Acosta .... consultant (uncredited)
Fred Banker .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Charles Baqueta .... coordinator (uncredited)
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer (uncredited)
Betty A. Griffin .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Robert Tafur .... dialogue coach (uncredited)
Robert Tafur .... technical advisor (uncredited)
 
Thanks
James Naremore .... special thanks (1998 restoration) (as James Narmore)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content (re-rating) (1998 restoration)
Runtime:
95 min | Germany:111 min (1998 alternate version) | USA:108 min (1975 alternate version) | USA:112 min (director's cut) | Spain:106 min (DVD edition) | 111 min (restored version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Chile:14 | Finland:K-11 (DVD rating) | Finland:K-16 (original rating) | Finland:K-12 (restored version) | Germany:18 (restored version) | Germany:16 (restored version) (re-rating) (2005) | Netherlands:6 | Norway:15 (re-rating) (1999) | Norway:16 (1985) | South Korea:15 (2003) | Spain:13 (DVD rating) | Sweden:15 (original rating) | Sweden:11 (restored version) | UK:12 | USA:PG-13 | USA:PG-13 (No. 36039) (re-rating) (1998 restoration) | USA:Approved (PCA #18506) (original rating) | USA:Unrated (restored version) | West Germany:16 (nf)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In the movie Ed Wood (1994), the Orson Welles character complains to the Ed Wood character about administrative meddling in a director's artistic vision: "I'm supposed to do a thriller with Universal, but they want Charlton Heston to play a Mexican," referring to this film (in reality, Heston's character was originally supposed to be white; it was Welles himself who changed it to a Mexican). Wood also tells Welles, "I've even had producers re-cut my films," a significant issue, as it turned out, for Welles with this film.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: At the beginning of the famous opening long shot, at the point where the bomb is planted in the trunk of the car, the reflection of a crew member is briefly seen in the upper left hand corner of the screen.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Border Cop:Uh, you folks American citizens?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Tana's ThemeSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is "Touch of Evil" based on a novel?
Any recommendations for movies similar to "Touch of Evil"?
See more »
17 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
A Great Detective, A Lousy Cop, And Some Kind Of Man, 17 December 2006
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

That's a great epitaph Marlene Dietrich and Mort Mills put together for Orson Welles's character police captain Hank Quinlan. In a sense, since Welles directed himself in Touch of Evil he both created the character and the circumstances that bring him down.

Two stories intersect in Touch of Evil. The first involves a particularly grisly murder in a Texas/Mexican border town of a man named Rudy Linnaker. The weapon was a car bomb, that went off just as Linnkaer and some chippie he was seeing crossed the border. Driving in the car just behind the late Mr. Linnaker was Charlton Heston as Mexican police detective Mike Vargas and his wife Janet Leigh.

Heston is returning to Mexico City where in a few days he's taking the witness stand in the trial of a local drug kingpin. The kingpin's brother is Akim Tamiroff who's the local crime lord in that border town. Heston's case against Tamiroff's brother and Welles's investigation into the car bombing are completely unrelated, but do to some cleverly worked out plot machinations they get intertwined together.

Charlton Heston has been quoted many times in saying that Orson Welles was the greatest director he ever worked for. He also rather modestly has stated that he did not give Welles his best screen performance. My own thought on it is that he really is not a terribly convincing latino. Maybe someone with Robert Mitchum's gift for dialect or a latino actor like Gilbert Roland might have been better. Still it's an earnest effort and Heston has nothing to be ashamed of.

In fact Heston says and I agree that the story is really about Welles and his destruction. Welles has great instinct as a detective, but he's not really all that scrupulous about due process. That's what has Heston's back up and it forces Welles into an unthinkable alliance with Tamiroff.

Janet Leigh gives us a sneak preview of what was in store for moviegoers in Psycho when she's trapped in that motel room with those punks that Tamiroff has sicced on her. One of the punks in fact was Mercedes McCambridge doing a little gender bending generations before Boys Don't Cry. At the motel Dennis Weaver has a marvelous bit part as the useless and feckless 'night man.'

Welles put a lot of his favorites in small roles here. Ray Collins took time away from Perry Mason on television to play the District Attorney. Joseph Cotten has a small bit as a medical examiner, Harry Shannon was the state's attorney, it was a regular Citizen Kane reunion.

Marlene Dietrich who was Welles's foil and partner in his magic act plays the owner of a border town dive and his mistress who loves him though she recognizes all his faults. This was a banner year for Dietrich because she also did her highly acclaimed role in Witness for the Prosecution.

One part though that should have been up for an Academy Award was Joseph Calleia who was Welles's devoted subordinate who in the end ironically helps to bring him down. It's a great piece of acting and Charlton Heston said that Joseph Calleia never did anything better in his entire cinema career. I wouldn't argue the point.

Now that the 'director's cut' is available we can now see Touch of Evil and realize what Welles's vision was for this film. Indifferently received when first out, it's grown to become a classic and probably one of the three or four films Welles the director gets the most acclaim for.

And now it's probably better than when first seen by the public.

Was the above review useful to you?
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