Touch of Evil (Masters of Cinema) Blu-ray
In Stock - should be despatched within 24 hours. Despatched from the UK. Delivery timesUsually 2-3 days to reach UK addresses. Europe takes around 2 days longer and International destinations take 1-2 weeks
FREE to UK addresses.
Costs to other countriesUK: Free
Western Europe: £2.50
Rest of the world: £3.75
If you are unhappy with your purchase, you can return it to us within 14 days. More details
Related Special Offers
Directed by Orson Welles
Produced in 1958
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Set in a squalid Mexican border town, Touch of Evil sees Welles play Hank Quinlan, a crooked police chief who frames a youth as part of a criminal plot. Heston is the upright Mexican narcotics investigator who smells a rat. However, he's also on his honeymoon with an inquisitive wife (Janet Leigh) whose tight-sweatered appearance arouses the interest of the local mob. Dietrich has a wonderful entrance as the enigmatic gypsy, and there are cameos from Mercedes McCambridge and Zsa Zsa Gabor (among others). In places, the film's influence on Hitchcock's Psycho - Janet Leigh's role, the out of town motel setting, the motel's night man - is immediately apparent.
Touch of Evil has taken many forms. The film as released in 1958 was certainly compromised from Orson Welles' vision, but a brilliant and lengthy memo written by Welles to studio heads in 1957 – taking issue with a studio rough-cut – had some influence on a subsequent preview version shown to test audiences (and rediscovered in the mid-1970s) as well as the 1958 theatrical version. Forty years later, in 1998, Universal produced a reconstructed version of the film that takes into meticulous account the totality of Welles' memo, and ostensibly represents the version of the film that most closely adheres to his original wishes.
Welles' final studio-system picture has at last become secure in its status as one of the greatest films ever made. It remains a testament to his genius.
Publisher: Eureka / Masters of Cinema
Length: 105 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1 / 1.85:1
Format: Blu-ray B&W
Released: 14th November 2011
Cat No: EKA70037
- 2 discs
- New high-definition masters of five variants of the film: the 1958 Theatrical Version in both 1.37:1 and 1.85:1, the 1958 Preview Version in 1.85:1, and the 1998 Reconstructed Version in 1.37:1 and 1.85:1
- 4 Audio commentaries, featuring: restoration producer Rick Schmidlin
- actors Charlton Heston & Janet Leigh, with Schmidlin
- critic F. X. Feeney
- and Welles scholars James Naremore & Jonathan Rosenbaum
- The original theatrical trailer, which includes alternate footage
- Bringing Evil to Life + Evil Lost and Found – two video pieces [21:00 mins + 18:00 mins]
- Optional English SDH subtitles on all versions of the film
- A 56-page booklet featuring essays by Orson Welles, François Truffaut, André Bazin, and Terry Comito, interview excerpts with Welles, a timeline of the film’s history and extensive notes on the film’s versions and ratios.
by Anon on 13th January 2004
In 1956 when Charlton Heston was at the height of his popularity, Universal offered him a part in a film called Badge of Evil along with Orson Welles. No director had ... Read on
In 1956 when Charlton Heston was at the height of his popularity, Universal offered him a part in a film called Badge of Evil along with Orson Welles. No director had been appointed and Heston, who had director approval, suggested Welles himself. Somewhat reluctantly Universal agreed and the stage was set for one of the greatest films noir of all time. Welles rewrote the script in 17 days and changed the title to Touch of Evil. Filming at night in Venice, California, he managed to create an atmosphere of intense seediness and moral decay.
The story of Hank Quinlan (Welles) as a corrupt policeman and Mike Vargas (Heston) as a narcotics investigator trying to establish who blew up a car at the Mexican border is rife with moral ambiguity. The film opens with a virtuoso 3-minute crane shot. A figure is seen placing a bomb under a car which then drives away towards the check point of the Texas/ Mexico border. The female passenger says 'My watch is awfully loud, there's a ticking in my head'. And then there’s a massive explosion. On the first two takes, the actor playing the frontier guard forgot his line and instead of mouthing some words, held his head in his hands. Three takes were needed before the shot was satisfactorily completed.
With filming completed Welles left for other projects and the the original release was butchered by the studio. The film was not well received when first shown, but rapidly gained a strong critical following and in its new form is hailed as one the greatest films of the American cinema. Thankfully, the film now available is the one closest to that envisaged by the director.
There are many marvellous cameos, including Dennis Weaver as a deranged motel proprietor and Akim Tamiroff as the drug boss. None, however are better than Marlene Dietrich as Quinlan’s old flame and her justly famous last line says it all: 'He was some kind of a man'. That could be said about Welles himself.