63. 'Touch of Evil' (1958)
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Talk about delayed reactions. It took 40 years for people to fully appreciate
Orson Welles' now-beloved noir-thriller.
An adaptation of the novel "Badge of Evil," the film follows honeymooners
Mike and Susan Vargas (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh) who run afoul of a drug cartel/crime
family. Mike, a Mexican narcotics detective, also butts heads with a corrupt
American lawman, Hank Quinlan (Welles).
"Touch of Evil" is alternatingly tense, grimy and disturbing. And it's so
dark in tone that it was originally ignored and pilloried, at least in the
United States. However, its reputation has grown over the years, due in no small
part to Welles' superb performance.
Search: Watch clips from 'Touch of Evil'
Ironically, Welles was fired as director during the post-production process,
and the original cut of the film was taken out of his hands. Luckily, "Touch of
Evil" was restored and re-edited, after Welles' death, from a print copy that
was owned by Heston.
And while some are still rankled by the casting of Heston as a Latino
character, just remember that he also played pair of Hebrew prince characters
(Moses and Judah Ben-Hur) convincingly, so it wasn't that big of a stretch. —
Jeff Michael Vice Get more MSN Movies on Twitter and Facebook.
(Orson Welles, Charlton Heston in "Touch of Evil"/Courtesy Everett