Touch of Evil (1958) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • 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
  • Hispanic Mike Vargas and his Caucasian bride Susie Vargas, a Mexican and American citizen respectively, have just crossed the relatively open Mexico-US border into the States. Mike is relatively well known on both sides of the border, he a high ranking Mexican government official tasked largely with cleaning up the illicit drug trade. Almost immediately after they enter the States, a car which had also just entered the country and which Mike and Susie had passed many times in crossing the border, explodes, killing the driver, local American businessman Rudy Linnekar, and his unknown female passenger. Because of the cross-border implications of the case with the bomb most likely planted in Mexico, Mike decides that he should assist in the investigation, leaving Susie at an isolated motel in the meantime. Leading the investigation is the town's police captain, grizzled and gimp legged Hank Quinlan, a man known to get the criminals and known to work off his gut. Quinlan's high regard is despite being an alcoholic, his favorite watering hole which used to be a cantina brothel on the Mexican side operated by a madam named Tana who is also an amateur fortune teller. His drinking is apparently under control. In this case, Quinlan's gut tells him that the person who killed Linnekar is a Mexican national named Manelo Sanchez, who is secretly associated with Linnekar's daughter, Marcia Linnekar. The American officials and Mike take the opportunity of the relatively open border to conduct their investigation on both sides. Quinlan discovers hard evidence that Sanchez is indeed the murderer. However, Mike questions Quinlan's findings, in the process questioning what has been his highly respected and successful career in law enforcement. Quinlan will seemingly go to any length to protect his good name and integrity. Thrown into the mix is a local resident named Joe Grandi, who is out for Mike because one of the people Mike is investigating is Grandi's brother. In these many battles, Susie may be more than acceptable collateral damage for Quinlan and Grandi, with the Linnekar case lost in the shuffle.

    - Written by Huggo
  • An automobile is blown up as it crosses the Mexican border into the United States. Mike Vargas, a high ranking Mexican narcotics official on honeymoon with his bride, Susie, is drawn into the investigation because a Mexican national has been accused of the crime. The figurative and physical presence of Hank Quinlan as the 330 pound sheriff looms all over. Quinlan is a fanatic where "justice" is concerned, even if obtaining it involves planting evidence. Quinlan's reputation for law and order enables him to bend the law without question until Vargas confronts him. From that point on, it's a battle of wits between the two that, with an accelerating pace, rushes to a climax.

    - Written by filmfactsman
  • Mexico's chief narcotics officer, Mike Vargas, is in a border town on a quick honeymoon with his American wife. Soon he must testify against Grandi, a drug lord whose brother and sons are tracking him, hoping to scare his wife and back him off the case. When a car bomb kills a rich U.S. developer, Vargas embroils himself in the investigation, putting his wife in harm's way. After Vargas catches local legendary U.S. cop, Hank Quinlan, planting evidence against a Mexican national suspected in the bombing, Quinlan joins forces with the Grandi family to impugn Vargas's character. Local political lackeys, a hard-edged whore, pachucos, and a nervous motel clerk also figure in the plot.

    - Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>
  • After crossing the border of Mexico to the United States of America, a bomb planted in the car of the wealthy businessman Rudy Linneker blows up in Los Robles. The Mexican Chief of Narcotics, Miguel Vargas, is spending his honeymoon with his American wife, Susan Vargas, in the border town. He is to testify in the case of the drug dealer Grandi, arrested in Mexico City. The idolized ex-alcoholic American Police Captain, Hank Quinlan, is in charge of the investigation as the murder happened on the American side of the border. However, Mike Vargas participates as observer because he finds out that the Mexican citizen Sanchez is the prime suspect. Meanwhile, Uncle Joe Grandi unsuccessfully presses Susie, trying to convince her husband to drop the case. When Hank plants dynamites in the house of Sanchez in a shoe box that Vargas had seen empty ten minutes before, he confronts Hanks.

    - Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

    - Written by alfiehitchie


While passing through the seedy border town of Los Robles, newlyweds Mike and Susan Vargas (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh) witness a car bomb explosion in which Rudy Linnekar...

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