The cult classic Touch of Evil is one of the high points of Welles' oeuvre. Orson Welles was originally only involved as scriptwriter and actor with the film, but protagonist Charlton Heston introduced him as director. The film was however, as so often happens, edited without Welles' involvement. On the basis of a 58 page memo from Welles to the studio chief of Universal, Ed Muhl, the version released in 1958 was re-edited last year by a team including Jonathan Rosenbaum, print-restorer Bob O'Neil, editor Walter Murch and producer Rick Schmidlin. The changes include removing the credits from the legendary and technically spectacular three½minute opening shot. The new version of the film lasts fifteen minutes longer. Touch of Evil, that caused barely a stir when it was first released, is now regarded as a the classic B-film. (And it is also in the top ten of festival director Simon Field).In this film about sexual ambivalence, drugs, racism and corruption in a small town on the American-Mexican border, Welles himself steals the show as the unhealthy looking and corrupt red-neck detective Hank Quinlan, who was highly respected locally. In addition the ingenious camerawork cannot be left unmentioned, like the idiosyncratic casting (e.g. a special role for Marlene Dietrich), the incredible production design and the superior editing.

Filmmaker
Orson Welles
Premiere
-
Country
USA
Year
1958
Medium
35mm
Length
113’
Language
English
Producer
Universal Pictures International Entertainment
Sales
Focus Features, Albert Zugsmith
Editor
Walter Murch
Cast
Orson Welles