Touch of Evil

Touch of Evil

DVD - 2000
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An elaborate mystery involving a corrupt police official in a squalid town on the Mexican border and a murder that ensnares a narcotics agent and his wife.
Publisher: Universal City, Calif : Universal Studios, c2000.
ISBN: 9780783230610
Branch Call Number: DVD TOU470
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (111 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.


From Library Staff

Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons) directs and stars in this gritty south-of-the-border potboiler. He chews up the camera as Hank Quinlan, an amoral American police captain who butts heads with Mexican officer Mike Vargas, inexplicably but effectively played by Charlton Heston... Read More »

From the critics

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Mar 03, 2018

This 1958, b&w, crime/drama was actually quite a delightfully vicious look at the whole "crooked cop" scenario. Yep. It was mean'n'nasty. That's for sure.

Full of racism, sleaze, and corruption - "Touch of Evil" is set at a border town situated between the USA and Mexico.

Filmed on a modest budget of just $830,000 - Director, Orson Welles certainly did an impressive job of squeezing every penny out of that amount of money in order to produce a film that, surprisingly enough, still manages to pack a sizable punch 60 years later.

Jan 16, 2018

(*Madame Tanya to Captain Quinlan quote*) - "You're a mess, honey."

When it comes to the likes of brilliantly presented nasty/corrupt cop movies - (IMO) - 1958's "Touch Of Evil" ranks right up there as being one of the absolute nastiest "badass" movies of them all.

Now 60 years old - This outrageous film's gritty, violent, sleazy, racist, degenerate story-line actually manages to still pack a substantial-sized wallop (even in this jaded day & age of ours).

Featuring some truly exceptional b&w camerawork - I'd definitely say that "Touch Of Evil" actually excels far beyond Welles' highly-praised "Citizen Kane" by a clear, country mile.

I think that it's interesting to note that prior to considering directing this film - Orson Welles had asked B-movie producer, Albert Zugsmith to give him the worst script he had available so that he could prove that he could make a great film out of it.

And, with that - Zugsmith handed Welles the unpolished screenplay of Whit Masterson's trashy, dime-store novel, "Badge Of Evil".

Jan 08, 2018

GREAT 1950 restored film noir b/w with terrific work by Orson Welles (and others). Quite an interesting Mexican-American border setting, etc.

Feb 07, 2017

The restored version is a film noir that is visually entertaining with its corruption and seediness. Although the story takes place in an American-Mexican border town complete with a field of production oil wells, it was actually filmed in Venice, California. IMHO, I would rate the restored version of "Touch of Evil" at 4.0 stars.

Is this the re-edit by Murch? I just googled it and it is the Murch re-edit that includes the notes that Welles included but never made it into the 1958 release. Murch did a great job of bringing Welles' project (and career) to a great close.

Oct 24, 2014

Never have I seen on a film website in the KCLS web site so many rave reviews. The amount of patrons that took the time to comment on "Touch of Evil" is impressive. I loved the movie. I thought that Orson Welles was great as an actor and as a director of the movie. The camera angles and the way Well's photographed faces was amazing. What surprises me is that KCLS only has one copy of the movie and their are no holds on the movie. This is for one of the Top 100 films ever made in the United States. It is an Orson Well's classic with many of the patrons that commented below. I encourage you to read their thoughtful comments and watch this great movie. Then you can leave us your comments right here on the KCLS web site. Thanks!

Aug 12, 2014

A bizarre nightmare of a noir film full of Welles' usual unbridled creativity (not to mention a monumental performance from the man himself). Watching the grotesque menagerie of characters leering through the shadows really makes you realize how influential this film must have been to someone like David Lynch.

wooknight Nov 02, 2013

Interesting movie . Raises questions between doing the "right" thing and following due process. It was truly ironic that I watched this movie right after I finished watching Judgement at Nuremberg where the judges were indicted for following whatever passed for due process in Nazi Germany. In this movie , the attention is focused more on a cop who is willing to break rules to do the right thing.

Oct 31, 2013

From the opening sequence--a tracking shot with a crane too (never seen that before or since)--we are in Welles country. Dietrich, Heston, Leigh and of course Welles himself make a terrific cast. The last scene on the bridge is wonderful filmmaking.

One of the better designed and creatively designed dvds around though it does have its faults such as not being completely user friendly.

It includes a long memo from Orson Welles but doesn't immediately warn you (you are warned elsewhere) how long the memo is and that reading that memo is an intense and tiring activity in itself. I speak from experience, having begun to read it than finally flicking through to the end before watching the movie itself.

The movie is good and keeps the viewer interested right to the end.

The story is that of a good narcotics investigator and his wife who encounter a gang as well as a corrupt police official while they are on honeymoon.

It is a honeymoon from hell for the wife who ends up being stalked and then abused by gang members who have ties to the police official at some point.

A violent yet ultimately happy ending for the couple, a violent end for the corrupt cop and his partner or friend as well as the businessman associated with gang members. 10/10

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Jul 26, 2012

Uncle Joe Grandi (translating for his nephew): "He wants to know if your husband is jealous señora." Susan Vargas: "You silly little pig." Uncle Joe Grandi: "Who are you talking about?" Susan Vargas: "I'm talking about YOU, you ridiculous old-fashioned, jug-eared, lopsided little Caesar!"

Jul 26, 2012

Tanya: "We're closed." Quinlan: "...You've been, cookin' at this hour?" Tanya: "Just cleanin' up." Quinlan: "Have you forgotten your old friend, hmm?" Tanya: "I told you we were closed." Quinlan: "I'm Hank Quinlan." Tanya: "I didn't recognize you. You should lay off those candy bars." Quinlan: "Eh.. it's either the, candy or the hooch. I must say, I wish it was your chili I was gettin' fat on. Anyway, you're sure lookin' good." Tanya: "You're a mess, honey." Quinlan: "Yeah... That pianola sure brings back memories." Tanya: "The customers go for it - it's so old, it's new... We got the television too. We run movies. What can I offer you?"

Jul 26, 2012

Risto: "You lost your rug, Uncle Joe. Your rug! You lost your rug!"

Jul 26, 2012

Hank Quinlan: "...Dynamite's no way to kill... Did I ever tell ya, the smart way to kill, Pete?" Pete Menzies: "Sure, sure. Strangle." Hank Quinlan: "...Hmm... Clean, silent..." Pete Menzies: "You told me all that. C'mon, finish that coffee." Hank Quinlan: "That's how my wife died. I don't usually talk about my wife." Pete Menzies: "Never, when you're sober." Hank Quinlan: "She was strangled, Pete." Pete Menzies: "I know, I know." Hank Quinlan: "Binding cord. She was working up at the packing plant, so the killer had it right at hand - smart. You don't leave fingerprints on a piece of string."

Jul 26, 2012

Hank Quinlan: "...Our friend Vargas has some very special ideas about police procedure - he seems to think it don't matter whether a killer's hanged or not, so long as we obey the fine print in the RULE books..." Mike (Miguel) Vargas: "-Well, Captain, I don't think a policeman should work like a dogcatcher-" Quinlan: "No?" Vargas: "-putting criminals behind bars, no! In any 'free country' a policeman is supposed to enforce the LAW, and the law protects the guilty as well as the innocent." Quinlan: "Our job is tough enough..." Vargas: "It's supposed to be! It has to be tough... A policeman's job is only is only easy in a police state -that's the whole point, Captain! Who is the boss, the cop, or the law?"

Jul 26, 2012

Hank Quinlan (to Pete Menzies): "...That's the second bullet I stopped for you..."

Jul 26, 2012

Schwartz: "Well, Hank was a great detective, alright." Tanya: "And a lousy cop." Schwartz: "Is that all you have to say for him?" Tanya: "He was some kind of a man... What does it matter what you say about people?" Schwartz: "Goodbye Tanya." Tanya: "Adiós."


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