Saturday, February 6, 2010

Capsule Review: Touch of Evil (1958)

While rightfully praised for its long opening shot, which introduces many of the main characters as a car – with a bomb planted in the trunk – maneuvers around the U.S./Mexico border, Orson Welles is actually fairly restrained as director compared to some of his earlier work. However, he gives one of his best performances as the massive, corrupt cop Quinlan – wearing padding and a fake nose to transform himself – while the supporting cast (including Janet Leigh and, in a virtual cameo, Joseph Cotton) are wonderful. Even Charlton Heston manages to make his performance as a Mexican police officer fairly believable. Long available in a confusing, truncated format, a 1998 restoration based on Welles’ notes is worth tracking down.

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