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Film Series : Orson Welles: The Other Side of the Argument

Touch of Evil

1958, Orson Welles, USA, 111 min.
Charlton Heston, Orson Welles

Show Times

  • Fri, Mar 15th 2:00pm
  • Tue, Mar 19th 6:00pm

"[Welles] makes transcendent use of the American technology his genius throve on; never again would his resources be so rich or his imagination so fiendishly baroque."-- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Given access to Hollywood's superior technical resources for the first time in ten years, Welles responded with an outpouring of creative energy that dazzled the cast, crew, and, for a while, the studio management. From its legendary opening camera movement to its haunting Marlene Dietrich envoi, TOUCH OF EVIL is Welles's most spectacularly stylized film. The plot pits a corrupt border-town sheriff (Welles) against a Mexican narc (Heston) and his vulnerable American bride (Janet Leigh). The film’s gargoylish supporting characters (especially Akim Tamiroff’s toupeed drug lord and Mercedes Cambridge’s leather-jacketed bull dagger) and sensationally seedy setting (filmed in Venice, California) contribute to an exhilarating sense of baroque overload. Once again, the film exists in several versions; we are showing the 1998 restoration, sometimes referred to, not quite accurately, as the "Director's Cut." 35mm. (MR)

The Tuesday screening will include a lecture/discussion by renowned critic and Welles authority Jonathan Rosenbaum.

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