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Touch Of Evil


stevesan

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The "preview" states changes were made to the "acclaimed" opening sequence. But it fails to explain who made the changes and why were they made. Why was this true classic revised?{font:Times New Roman} {font}{font:Times New Roman} {font}

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It is my understanding that Welles left some notes and that the changes were made based on these notes (but I don't know who made the changes).

 

Sometimes the release we know as the "true" classic as determined by the studio doesn't match the vision of the director.

 

 

 

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

>The "preview" states changes were made to the "acclaimed" opening sequence. But it fails to explain who made the changes and why were they made. Why was this true classic revised?

 

After Orson saw what the studio did to his cut of the picture, he sent them a detailed 58 page memo, plead8ing with them to make changes. In 1998, a restoration based on that memo was made. That is the version usually shown now.

 

The main change to the long opening shot was to remove the titles, and replace the music with the ambient sound track that was originally intended.

 

Many Welles scholars consider this to be his best film, and I agree. *Citizen Kane* was a tour-de-force. *Touch of Evil* is a punch in the gut, of raw American filmmaking.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_of_Evil#Differing_versions

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Well whoever owned the rights to the picture had to give their premission to make this so called 'director's cut'.

 

I would hope they did this only for artistic reasons but with two versions there is more money to be made.

 

 

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It was done to try to fulfill Welles' wishes, a few decades late. The link I provided below describes those responsible for the recut. Doubtless, there is more about it on the web. In previous showings, TCM has run a description of the restoration at the beginning of the film. I thought that description was part of the new edition. I didn't see tonight's showing, but perhaps that was cut off the front.

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Yeah, unfortunately there are a lot of versions of this movie released over the years. Valentine's got it right in that a version was released in the late 90's that incorporates the changes Welles requested in a memo after not liking the final cut made by the studios. You can buy this version on DVD (which I have) & it is pretty interesting. For one thing, it has a commentary with Charlton Heston & Janet Leigh. And Valentine is also right in that the changes made to the famous opening scene in the "restored" version are that they took out the credits & Mancini's score. Maybe it's not what Welles would have wanted but does anybody else besides me like the old version with Mancini's score better? I'm sure it probably comes down to which version you saw first--that's the version you'll like best.

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Oh, and to answer the question on the original post: the changes were made by two very credible sources: Rick Schmidlin (who restored the silent movie "Greed") & Walter Mursch (considered one of the best editors & sound editors of the last 40 years).

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

> Maybe it's not what Welles would have wanted but does anybody else besides me like the old version with Mancini's score better? I'm sure it probably comes down to which version you saw first--that's the version you'll like best.

 

I definitely saw it with the Mancini score many times, before I saw the restored version. I definitely prefer the restored version. Mancini is fine, but restoring the very innovative for the time ambient sound track focuses the attention where it belongs - on the surroundings and the border crossing, how much is going on all around them.

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>The "preview" states changes were made to the "acclaimed" opening sequence. But it fails to explain who made the changes and why were they made. Why was this true classic revised?

 

TCM had a documentary about this about 8 or so years ago.

 

Seems that some professors got their mits on it and re-edited parts of it.

 

The film TCM shows today is not the film that all of America saw when it was released to theaters, and it was not the film old AMC and TCM originally aired for several years.

 

The same is true with Greed, The Big Sleep, Lost Horizon, and several other movies. What we are seeing now is films that have been altered by professors. That's why an extra set of credits sometimes runs before or after a film giving credit to the people who altered the films.

 

The professors always claim that "this is the way such and such director wanted to make the film", but it's actually the way the professors wanted to re-edit it and get their names on the credits of a film that someone else made decades ago.

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Professors did not get their mits on Touch of Evil and re-edit it. Most

of the people involved in it were film and sound technicians trying to

edit the film based on notes that Welles had made about the film

that hewed to his original take on the movie, which was different from

the partially reshot film that Universal orignally released. Whether that

should have been done is a different topic, one which has little to do

with professors.

 

The late 1990s version of The Big Sleep was a restoration of Hawks'

orginal 1945 version of the movie, which is different in certain aspects

from the version ultimately released in 1946. Again, professors had

little to do with it.

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Yea, those stinken professors get their mits on too many things. I'm sure there are some in DC.

 

Everyone knows that we need less intellectual people in this country and especially DC!

 

As for The Big Sleep 1945 version. It is my understanding that this is NOT a restoration but instead a completed version. It was shown overseas to the US troops. For marketing reasons Warner decided to wait until WWII was over to release the picture. During this time Bogie and Bacall took off as an "IT" couple. So Warner asked Hawks to re-shoot some scenes to bump up the romance between the two in the movie and the ad campaign's focus was on B and B.

 

 

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Darn pointy-headed intellectuals. Toss 'em all in the Potomac. :^0

 

I think in the case of The Big Sleep restoration meant they did whatever

film technicians do to clean up the print and restore it to its original look.

As far as I know, they made no subtractions or additions to the 1945 film

itself.

 

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ValX, thanks very much for the link to Welles' memo about how he wanted the film cut. I appreciate the effort that was made to cut the film as closely as possible to Welles' wishes (at least his wishes at that particular moment; he might have had different thoughts if he'd continued to work in the editing room).

 

I had only seen *Touch of Evil* on TV a long time ago until seeing the restored version. Here are some thoughts:

 

1. Getting rid of the credits over the spectacular opening shot is solid gold. Now we can appreciate Welles' artistry without any distractions.

 

2. Getting more of Dennis Weaver is not an improvement. Obviously this is what Welles wanted, and I can see why he wanted it this way. However, I find almost every moment Weaver is on screen, especially in the endless scene with Charlton Heston, excruciating to watch and hear. My noir nightmare is having to watch this scene over and over again.

 

3. The 108-minute version feels longer than the 93-minute version, and it needn't necessarily. There are too many shots of Welles himself. I'd rather wish he were on screen a little more rather than wish he were on screen a little less. This isn't a dealbreaker, however. Because the film runs longer and slower, the plot holes are more obvious.

 

4. When I first saw the film, I didn't find Janet Leigh annoying, although now I do. Welles is right in his memo that structurally we need equal time devoted to her subplot and to the Heston subplot, but I keep wanting to fast forward through some of her scenes. Does the character really have to be this dumb and this clueless?

 

Overall, there is much to enjoy, and some truly great moments (including the long take in the motel room), but the film feels uneven to me.

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See Rick Schmidlin:

http://www.slais.ubc.ca/people/faculty/sessional-contact.htm

 

http://www.wellesnet.com/touch_memo1.htm

 

See UCLA, "Lost Horizon":

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-06-28/entertainment/ca-25720_1_lost-horizon-la

 

See:

"In 1973, the American Film Institute initiated a restoration of the film. The project was undertaken by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and Columbia Pictures and took 13 years to complete. Although all 132 minutes of the original soundtrack were recovered, only 125 minutes of film could be found, so the seven minutes of missing film footage were replaced with a combination of publicity photos of the actors in costume taken during filming and still frames depicting the missing scenes."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Horizon_(1937_film)

 

These modern people are re-editing classic films that we have seen and enjoyed in the original edit for years, and in some cases they are adding still photos to the films to stretch them out to a longer length. These films never contained still photos as part of their story. This is just an odd addition to modified modern copies of several classic films. This is not the way the films were originally shown in the theaters.

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>2. Getting more of Dennis Weaver is not an improvement. Obviously this is what Welles wanted, and I can see why he wanted it this way. However, I find almost every moment Weaver is on screen, especially in the endless scene with Charlton Heston, excruciating to watch and hear.

 

It's a shame that some of these classic films are being ruined by being modified and re-edited by modern people who want to add their name to the credits of a classic film.

 

I like the original versions that I saw in the past, and not the modified re-edits. The Dennis Weaver stuff was idiotic.

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I'm completely confused.

 

I'll start by saying, with Touch of Evil I don't personally think it's the sum of the parts that matter so much as the parts themselves- which are all (IMO) ace filmaking. There's any number of ways you could throw it all together in the end, but the basic story, plot, camera movements and performances (especially those of Welles and Dietrich) are all top-drawer, no matter how you slap it together.

 

I believe the "restored" version is the only version I've ever seen and, honestly, I got no beef with it, Maybe that's 'cause I've seen Evil in no other form. (side note: back when I lived in Hollywood I actually got to go to a studio screening of the film on the Paramount lot; I saw it on a big screen, it was the first time I saw it and it has always remained one of my fondest memories and favorite films.)

 

Now what the hell is all this about Dennis Weaver? IMDB lists him as playing "the Mirador night manager" and as many times as I have seen the film, I have no recollection of this character. Does this mean the geeky guy who manages the motel Janet Leigh stays at and is assualted at, or what am I missing here? I'm drawing a total blank, so someone PLEASE fill me in.

 

(On other discussed matter: the two versions of The Big Sleep : the DVD has two versions of it, one claims to be a 1946 pre-release, I've watched them both and can tell almost NO difference other than one scene with Bacall (the one where he brings Carmen home after finding her drunk at the house on Laurel Canyon) is cut.

 

I dunno, both films are in themselves such puzzles, there's so many ways you could put them together- I still say scene for scene, no matter the order, they're CRACKERJACK; whereas you could take a film like, oh let's just say Come Back Little Sheba edit it all out of order full-Tarantino style and- scene for scene- it would all still suck.

 

(Now I'm gonna get the Shirley Booth fans after me.)

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I saw "Touch of Evil" several different times on TV before the modern editors chopped it up and changed it around. Then about 10 or so years ago, I saw a documentary on TCM about how they changed it by making some editing changes and by adding footage that was not in the original film. They added too much Dennis Weaver stuff, which was bad already, and by adding more, that made it worse. The added stuff of Dennis Weaver is just too much, too silly, too overpowering. It turns that part of the film into a Bowery Boys comedy. It breaks up all the drama of the film.

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You watched both version of the Big Sleep and didn't notice that Mrs. Mars was played by two different actresses? There are many more changes than this, but mostly the movie most people have seen (the 1946 release), has some additonal Bogie and Bacall scenes and they have Bacall coming on to Bogie a lot more. Note that in the book Marlow had the hots for Mrs. Mars and not the Bacall character. Hawks and Warner changed since the two got married and thus they wanted to market that.

 

I have created my own version of the movie based on the two version. Trust me, it is the best of them all!

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Golly, Fred. Do you bother to read what you post?

 

The 132-minute restored print of "Lost Horizon" is original cut that aired in theaters in 1937, and which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in that format.

The text now included at the head of the film makes clear that over the years the film was re-released to theaters and television on sundry occasions, and cuts were made to the original print at that time. These cuts were not in accordance with the wishes of either Frank Capra or Robert Riskin (who directed and wrote the thing), and in the opinion of both men it ruined the tempo of the film since it destroyed the evolving feelings of the characters played by Edward Everett Horton and Thomas Mitchell, and thus failed to show why they had opted to remain in Shangri-La.

Although the full 132-minute soundtrack for Lost Horizon was found, several minutes of footage were lost. Inclusion of the still photos were used to stand in for the lost footage, which, again, audiences in 1937 would have enjoyed in the original theatrical cut. You choose to emphasize the role played by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, but not Columbia Pictures the original releasing studio, which was where the desire to restore the film to its original format originated.

I assume you do favor restoring films, if possible, to the original form conceived by the director and/or writer, and in the form they had when they originally were shown in theaters. If so, you certainly have no cause whatever to be complaining about the 'mutilation' of Lost Horizon. Archivists (not professors) did the best they could to reassemble the film as best they could given existing elements. For this, they should be applauded.

 

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