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
Some writers claim that Orson Welles became friends with Albert Zugsmith during production of Man in the Shadow (1957), in which Welles appeared as an actor, and after that film wrapped Welles offered to direct the "worst" script Zugsmith had, which was "Badge of Evil". See more »
As the night-man leads Vargas to cabin seven, Vargas jumps from his right side to his left at a cut. See more »
Opening statement (restored version): In 1957, Orson Welles completed principal photography on TOUCH OF EVIL and edited the first cut. Upon screening the film, the Studio felt it could be improved, shot additional scenes and re-edited it. Welles viewed this new version and within hours wrote a passionate 58-page memo requesting editorial changes. This version represents an attempt to honor those requests and make TOUCH OF EVIL the film Orson Welles envisioned it to be. "... I close this memo with a very earnest plea that you consent to this brief visual pattern to which I gave so many long hard days of work." -- Orson Welles See more »
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 »
Touch of Evil has, perhaps, the BEST cinematography and lighting in ANY film ever made. Not just in the film noir genre, but in all categories. Orson Welles tended to use wide shots for all of his films, and Touch of Evil's use of wide shots took filmmaking to another level, especially with the amazing opening shot. The camera techniques and lighting are too spectacular to fathom, it is the grandmaster of all movies. Brilliant is an understatement. See this film, if not for the excellent acting and sheer brilliance in terms of the camera (this film had a GREAT D.P.!!), but for entertainment value. But if you are a film student or just want to see great camera work, Touch of Evil will astonish you.
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