Friday, December 20, 2013

Touch of Evil

I got my hands on Touch of Evil based on the fact it was one of the top 250 films that I had not yet seen.

The Orson Welles film wasn't necessarily a pop sensation when it came out in 1958 - but time is favorable on some art, and such is the case with this interesting film.

When I opened the disk to the film I found that I had the 50th Anniversary Edition, which actually contained 3 versions of the film - the original version, a pre-final cut by Orson Welles, and a later version that tried to correct/address many of the concerns Orson Welles had with the final version.

I couldn't decide what to watch, but decide to stick with the original version for my first viewing. It was shorter, the original version, and I find that I usually like studio versions more that "director cuts."

The film has it moments - and generally I'd say a viewing is worth it for the beginning of the film and the end of the film. The middle gets a little...well...mushy and contrived.

The end is compelling because it has some fantastic acting by the lead actors (Charlton Heston, Orson Wells as well as some scene stealing dialogue by Marlene Dietrich).

The beginning on the other hand is compelling not for it's plot, but rather it's compelling cinematic style. Namely the use of a long take, with a multi-minute single shot, camera hoisted on a crane, and a very compelling introductory scene.

The below video is a clip for a later version (not the 1958 version) - this version removes the title credits and Henry Mancini music in the original version which Orson Welles did not like in the studio version. I chose this version because it is a truly great take with minimal musical/opening credit distractions. Enjoy!

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