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Touch of Evil (1958)

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

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Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the novel "Badge Of Evil" by)
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Top Rated Movies #233 | 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mike Vargas
... Susan Vargas
... Police Captain Hank Quinlan
... Police Sergeant Pete Menzies
... 'Uncle' Joe Grandi
... Marcia Linnekar
... District Attorney Adair
... Mirador Motel Night Manager
... Pancho (as Valentin De Vargas)
... Al Schwartz
Victor Millan ... Manelo Sanchez
Lalo Rios ... Risto
Michael Sargent ... Pretty Boy
... 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 Overwhelming Drama of a Strange Vengeance 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:

February 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Badge of Evil  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$829,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$70,725, 13 September 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,237,659, 3 January 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Akim Tamiroff was required to stick the butt of a lamb's tongue into his mouth for his grotesque death scene. Orson Welles felt this was necessary to achieve the proper effect he wanted--a criminal who had been strangled so savagely that his tongue was unnaturally distended from his mouth. As it turned out, though, the lamb's tongue proved to be too disgusting to show onscreen, so Tamiroff's unenviable ordeal was for nothing. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the famous tracking shot, the person planting the bomb manages to open the trunk of the car without having (or using) a key, See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Customs Officer: Uh, you folks American citizens?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 111-minute restored version, there are no credits at all until the end of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Les cinéphiles - Le retour de Jean (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Flashing Nuisance
Written by Henry Mancini
Performed by United International Orchestra
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Spellbinding thriller
8 November 1999 | by See all my reviews

There are only two ways to write a review that would truly do this film justice. Either one would have to write an exceedingly long review, or a short, concise one. I choose to do the latter.

When I first saw "Touch of Evil," I was glued to the chair. When I found out it was not Welles' definitive vision, I wondered how on earth it could have been made better. And when I saw the re-released version, I wondered why the studio altered it. The stunning black-and-white images, the intricate plot, and the powerful, engaging performances took a hold of my imagination. At times, I imagined myself on the street with the characters, because the atmosphere was so thick I felt surrounded in it.

The actors all did an outstanding job, especially Leigh and Heston (who, although not thoroughly convincing as a Mexican, soared above his usual powerful, furious presence). This is Welles' picture, however, and whenever the camera catches his obese figure, you are fully aware of the man as a director and an actor. His powerful vision drives the film, from the single-cut opening sequence to the cat-and-mouse finale.

I suggest watching the 1998 restored version over the original theatrical release, but regardless of which version, "Touch of Evil" will have you stuck in your seat, questioning your views of morality until long after the last credit has rolled up the screen.


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