Touch of Evil

January 27, 2020 - 6:30 pm

Event Category: Monday Night Classics
Admission: $14 // $10.75 Members

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Our January Monday Night Classics series of infamous Oscar snubs concludes with Orson Welles’s down-and-dirty return to films after a decade away from Hollywood: “Touch of Evil.”

Charlton Heston (starring here as Mexican border cop Mike Vargas) was instrumental in persuading B-movie producer Albert Zugsmith to hire Welles, and the result is a baroque, highly stylized masterpiece. Beginning with one of the most celebrated tracking shots in cinema history—a bravura three-minute take in which a bomb is planted in a car that then explodes after crossing the US border—”Touch of Evil’s” story of murder, marijuana and police corruption makes it one of the last and best of the 1940s/50s cycle of crime thrillers known as film noir. (And Welles’ vivid turn as corpulent, crooked cop Quinlan provided one of the genre’s most memorable villains.)

“A brilliant fusion of pulp art with continental sophistication; it has all the energetic cruddiness of a Sammy Fuller ‘B’ picture, and all the self-consciousness of a New Wave melodrama.” — James Naremore, The Magic World of Orson Welles

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