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Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 9 May 1958 (Canada)
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2:09 | Trailer
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director:

Orson Welles

Writers:

Orson Welles (screenplay), Whit Masterson (based on the novel "Badge Of Evil" by)
7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Victor Millan ... Manelo Sanchez
Lalo Rios Lalo Rios ... Risto
Michael Sargent Michael Sargent ... Pretty Boy
Phil Harvey ... Blaine
Joi Lansing ... 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! (original posters-all caps) See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

9 May 1958 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Badge of Evil See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$829,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$70,725, 13 September 1998

Gross USA:

$2,247,465

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,286,947
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There has been much debate over the aspect ratio of the 1998 re-release. Apparently Orson Welles wanted to shoot the movie in flat widescreen (1.85:1), but Universal ordered him to film it in Academy ratio (1.37:1). When the film was restored, the production team offered to do the restorations in full screen, but Universal had them release it in widescreen, which the DVD is. However, TV viewings in 4:3 help viewers see the full framing that Welles clearly intended for the picture. See more »

Goofs

The explosion in the opening scene shows the car squashing down on all four wheels. The following scenes show the car thrown on its right side. 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 »

Alternate Versions

A new version, running 111 minutes, has been restored by Universal and debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in September 1998. This version has been re-edited according to Orson Welles' original vision, as outlined in a 58-page memo that the director wrote to Universal studio head Edward Muhl in 1957, after Muhl took editing out of Welles' hands. The new version has been prepared by editor by Walter Murch, sound recordists Bill Varney, Peter Reale and Murch, and picture restorer Bob O'Neil under the supervision of Rick Schmidlin and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. One difference between the two versions is that the famous opening tracking shot is now devoid of credits and Henry Mancini's music, featuring only sound effects. See more »

Connections

Referenced in House: Let Them Eat Cake (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Ku Ku
Written by Henry Mancini
Performed by United International Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The B-films would never be the same.
29 January 1999 | by walrus-5See all my reviews

Orson Welles made this film over 15 years after "Citizen Kane", but even though it doesn't reach the level of "Kane", he never lost his genius touch. With a basic story and regular budget he made the most famous B-film ever. His majesty in the camera control and the editing jump out of the screen. His director geniality is seen through the outstanding performances by great actors like himself, Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietricht, and actors not that great, like Charlton Heston. Several lines of this motion picture are amongst the greatest of all times, specially the Dietrich ones. The credits scene, that runs uncut for about 3 minutes, is one of the greatest moments in the film history, along with the pianola tune at Tanya's place. Some might say that "Touch of Evil" is banal and boring, but these are the people that don't like real motion pictures, and we all know that, so we don't care about them.


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