Yep I know, how could I have not seen Touch Of Evil yet? A slapped botty for sure but hey maybe it was all leading up to this viewing. A viewing that hit me like a strong swig of Tequila, hitting that sweet spot. Everyone has seen it, so I won’t do a rough description of the plot or what I thought of the film because that is self-explanatory. So here’s ten points that blew me away with awe and wonder.
- The opening, one shot, continuous tracking through the streets of Mexico towards the US border was so beautifully enthralling. Apparently it’s very famous and I’d no idea, I guess it all just added to my pure wonder and fascination as the remarkable set piece played out.
- It went up on Netflix UK this week. Instantly I jumped straight over the border control gate, head first into the action. It had been on the “to watch list” for many years and that was just the kick up the jacksie I needed. The quality of the print is completely outstanding. Crystal clear HD black and white is pure lush.
- With Orson Welles direction, he and the director of photography Russell Metty capture incredible scene after scene. None more magical than the stunning close up face shots. Managing to perfectly grasp the pure essence of each of the players as their stories pan out.
- Charlton Heston plays the Mexican narcotics cop Miguel “Mike” Vargas. With his shades and mustache, Charlton has never looked so damn fookin cool.
- Another too cool for school scene is the close up of Charlton’s Vargas and Al Schwartz (Mort Mills) speeding through the Mexican streets in the 1956 Desoto Fireflite Convertible. Another perfect moment. I could just watch that on rewind.
- The Mexican beatnik gangster youths and their reefer madness jittering and nodding to the beat, willing to terrorise at the drop of a hat.
- Orson Welles Police Captain Hank Quinlan in his fat suit and made to be chubbier than real life with the edition of a fake nose. Funny thing I read, arriving at a dinner party in between shots he’d stayed in character hoping to save time on makeup. A famous actress approached him when he entered and in all seriousness said: “Orson! You look wonderful!“
- Janet Leigh’s character Susan Vargas is so wonderfully feisty and of all her great scenes she has, the one that really stood out for me was with ‘Uncle’ Joe Grandi (Akim Tamiroff) within the hotel lobby at the beginning.
- Captain Hank Quinlan’s loyal and devoted Sergeant Pete Menzies (Joseph Calleia) was a joy to watch as he follows and helps Hank out on the mystery investigation.
- Loved the way the music flowed through the film. Mainly coming from car radio’s or speakers in hotel etc. Composer Henry Mancini gives the themed latin swinging Tijuana jazz jive. It especially suits the opening drive through.
Shock horror, there was one tiny thing I didn’t get on with and that was Dennis Weaver’s Motel Night Manager, who was off his rocker. A TV legend from so many classics, Duel, McCloud, Gentle Ben but his lost his marbles part didn’t quite gel for me. It felt like it was added for a bit of comic relief?
Actually there’s many more than 10, a few honorable mentions go to the boyfriend Sanchez. Also Marlene Dietrich unique beauty and her speech. The star of the show? The stunning noir sets and the divine cinematic shots delivered at every single corner. Perfection. BRAVO.
If like me you haven’t seen it yet, get on Netflix as soon as, pour a large Herradura Añejo Tequila. Put on your shades, sit back and enjoy the drive. Though if you have, I’m sure you will be watching it again and again as I will. Bet you have fond memories of this film? Let me know if you wish. Take it easy, have fun and the enjoy movies…. Mikey Wolf