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Touch of Evil Genius, or All's Welles That Ends Welles


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I saw one of my favorite noirs, *Touch of Evil* , last night -- my first time seeing it on the big screen. It reestablished that some movies just [have] to be seen in a theater. As impressive as the opening shot is on my TV, I got goosebumps watching it last night. And when Quinlan gets out of his car, he [really] fills the screen.

 

Jonathan Rosenbaum moderated the screening and talked about his involvement in the re-cutting to get nearer to the Welles vision, or at least the vision he put into his 58 page memo to the studio. He showed a couple of clips from prior versions that were changed for the latest version. One was a single shot in the earlier versions that has been deleted, and that deletion arguably changes the psychology of the Sgt. and, therefore, the motivation and meaning of his shooting of Quinlan. He also showed a 6 minute clip from *Don Quixote* .

 

The real kick was a half-hour TV pilot that Welles did in 1958 (producer: Desilu), *The Fountain of Youth* . Fascinating, unorthodox (I could almost hear the TVs being turned off nationwide) and extremely droll. It was about narcissism and Welles, as the objective narrator, had more camera time than any of the actors. He looked like he was having fun playing a practical joke.

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Touch of Evil is a masterpeice of filmmaking. My personal favorite scene is when they are all in Sanchezes apartment looking for evidence. This was really tricky because they were pulling doors and walls to allow them to move through the set in a continuous take. Great acting as well.

 

I also like the scene just after where Vargas goes across the street, using a store's phone to call his wife. there is a girl sitting there in front of a sign that says something like "If you're low enough to steal from the blind then help yourself."

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  • 1 year later...

I have to tell you that TOUCH OF EVIL is one of my favorite movies, one of my favorite noirs, and my favorite Welles performance! I love the scene in the Sanchez apartment.

 

"Didn't you bring any doughnuts or sweet rolls?"

 

I love Joseph Calleia as Menzies.

 

Poor Janet, she didn't have much luck in motels, did she, lol?

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> I have to tell you that TOUCH OF EVIL is one of my favorite movies, one of my favorite noirs, and my favorite Welles performance! I love the scene in the Sanchez apartment.

>

> "Didn't you bring any doughnuts or sweet rolls?"

>

> I love Joseph Calleia as Menzies.

>

> Poor Janet, she didn't have much luck in motels, did she, lol?

 

I love the music---Henry Mancini's score is incredible.

 

Viva La Marlene in her small but smashing part.

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The music is terrific, it really sets the mood.

 

I couldn't agree with you more about Marlene here; I like her later work -- also WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION and JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG. (haven't seen STAGE FRIGHT in ages)

 

And I just can't forget Dennis Weaver, lol.

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I couldn't agree with you more about Marlene here; I like her later work -- also WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION and JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG. (haven't seen STAGE FRIGHT in ages)

 

It was a pretty good run of movies, considering her heyday really was in the 30's. B-)

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*Viva La Marlene in her small but smashing part.*

 

You betcha. Each time I watch this film, I'm am struck how the importance of her character grows. Although I think of her primary function as being the Greek Chorus, it really is greater than that. She humanizes Quinlan. And that last scene pulls all of the threads together to make it one gloriously ambiguous work of film art (and to bring tears to my noir eyes).

 

For my money, after Orson, it is Marlene's movie.

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You betcha. Each time I watch this film, I'm am struck how the importance of her character grows. Although I think of her primary function as being the Greek Chorus, it really is greater than that. She humanizes Quinlan. And that last scene pulls all of the threads together to make it one gloriously ambiguous work of film art (and to bring tears to my noir eyes).

 

I haven't seen the movie that many times, but I should definitely keep that in mind next time that I watch it. B-)

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I remember Dietrich's eulogy for Quinlan -- and she could have been speaking of Welles, too --

"He was something of a man. What does it matter what you say about him?"

 

Off camera, on another occasion, she said of Welles that when we speak of him we should cross ourselves. (And I don't think she meant that he was a vampire.)

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