Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

1958: Touch of Evil, again

The BFI have reissued that super 1958 thriller TOUCH OF EVIL, and with a new trailer:
Orson Welles' influential, magnificently sophisticated and funny take on crime and US/Mexican relations in a border town (maybe the best B-movie ever) provides a masterclass in how to create atmosphere. The camera (lensed by the great Russell Metty) swoops around like a bird of prey on acid. Henry Mancini's music sends us into a frenzy as idealistic Mexican cop Vargas (Heston) goes head to head with corrupt law enforcer Quinlan (a bloated, padded Welles) as he uncovers the seedy corruption around him as Quinlan has his own way of getting results. Cue Janet Leigh menaced in a motel again - by the craziest collection of hoods (including Mecedes McCambridge), and gangly motel guy Dennis Weaver. Orson regulars like Akim Tamiroff are also nicely sleazy here. 
Janet had her arm in a sling but you don't notice as she often has a coat over her arm. Then there's Marlene, with that great closing line .... This is a classic hepped-up '50s noir (along with KISS ME DEADLY and THE BIG COMBO) and has that great long opening sequence as we wait for the bomb in the car to go off. A perfect Abert Zugsmith production. 
Orson was initially hired to act, but who else could have directed it better? He also appeared in THE LONG HOT SUMMER and ROOTS OF HEAVEN and probably spent an hour narrating THE VIKINGS that year, 1958 was busy for them all: Chuck was also in THE BIG COUNTRY and THE BUCCANEER (before heading off for BEN-HUR), while Janet was kept busy with THE VIKINGS and that comedy I liked, THE PERFECT FURLOUGH (see Janet label). Heston & Janet teamed again for this nice shot in 1999 ....   

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