Saturday, April 6, 2013

330. Touch of Evil

Touch of Evil
Directed by Orson Welles

What a great opening scene.  I am sure many film classes study just the first three minutes of this film.  We see a Mexican man plant a bomb in a car just before a couple crosses the border.  Janet Leigh and Charlton Heston pass the car a couple of times on foot.  Just as the car crosses the border, the car explodes and the couple is killed.

Unfortunately, the film is never able to keep up the tension that it builds in the opening scene.  I am no saying that the rest of the movie is boring, but when you have such a great beginning, it is easy to be disappointed with the rest of the film.

Anyway, for the next hour and a half or so, we follow the story of Vargas (Heston) as he digs deeper into the bomb mystery.

I really don't like Charlton Heston.  I feel like I keep saying that but unfortunately, he keeps cropping up everywhere.  In this film he is cast as a Mexican.  Really?  I had an easier time imagining he was Moses.

I can't really complain about the rest of the actors.  It was great seeing Janet Leigh in something other than Psycho, which was the only thing I had ever seen her in.  Orson Welles was also exceptional in his role; he is really good at creeping me the hell out.

I saw this film awhile ago and I am still not exactly sure what I think.  I guess for now I will give it four stars and maybe change it later.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Orson Welles was fired during post production, so the film was cut without his approval.

A box office failure in the US.

Just check out the opening:


  1. This is one helluva movie, in my opinion even better than Citizen Kane. You can feel the heat and sweat emanating from the screen. The only minus is Heston. I totally agree with you on him. A complete miscast. Anything else... superb.

    1. I think I agree with you about it being better than Citizen Kane. Will we be smited?

  2. There are different versions so it's important to note that I just watched the 1998 restoration based upon Welles's own requests and artistic vision. Probably better that way although some it is a little unconventional - particularly the first third - so I can well imagine the film company thinking "This would be great if we re-edited it".

    I reckon this would make a good modern-day TV series adaption. Just maybe with a more naturalistic Latino actor in the lead role of a Mexican policeman than Chuck Heston.