Thursday, 21 May 2009
Touch of Evil 
Often considered the last great film noir (going by the classical definition of the genre), Touch of Evil is a nightmarish ride through the dark realms of society as well as the human mind. The movie opens with its legendary opening sequence – and source of endless ‘inspirations’ – a long take tracking a car fitted with a timed bomb, from its planting to its explosion. The iconic first three minutes was enough to make this Orson Welles classic a breathtaking and a disturbing movie. What follows, both literally and figuratively, is a game unto death between an honest Mexican cop (Charlton Heston in a largely forgettable role) and the local American police chief (Orson Welles). Janet Leigh, as Heston’s gorgeous wife, in a role that preceded her iconic turn as the infamous “shower scene” lady in Psycho, was at her seductive best. The movie, however, fairly and squarely belonged to Welles. Not only did he present a glimpse into what hell might look like – augmented by the incredibly dark atmosphere, serpentine narrative and oblique camera angles that seemed to penetrate right into the psyche of the characters, but also, as the sleazy, grotesque, corrupt and scheming Captain Hank Quinlan – a screen villain like few others – he gave a performance even more sinister and magnetic than his memorable turn in The Third Man. Though it was callously edited, and massacred in the process, by the studio, fortunately for us cinephiles the noir masterpiece has been restored to the version that Welles perhaps had envisioned while making it.
Director: Orson Welles
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Mystery