Monday, February 16, 2004

Watched Touch of Evil last night . . . Directed by Orsen Welles it stars Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orsen Welles, and Marlene Dietrich. It was good. Apparently it's a restored version--the version originally released to theatres was a version butchered by the studio. This recent restoration was put together to reflect desires expressed by Welles in a memo to the studio, but for forty years, the movie was known only in a form that Welles didn't want. Poor guy.

The movie is pretty good--it's damned full of tension at just about every moment. The viewer's continually disoriented by shifting, jagged angles and close-ups--yet it still all comes together to tell the story coherently. Everything moves fast under the heat of constant danger and the desires of sinister men. Janet Leigh is beautiful and vulnerable, stabbed by shadows and noise brutally before a single human hand is laid on her.

Charlton Heston plays a Mexican police chief--amusing, given the actor's current views regarding minorities. He's certainly not the best actor in the world but he does an adequete job here; all he really needs to be is the straight hero.

Welles' character, the alcoholic American police chief, was a little more interesting. Having put on a great deal of weight by this point in his carreer, Orsen was a big dreadnaught of ominousness under a fedora.

The story itself was pretty simple. But above all, this was a movie that was good for how the camera moved and how things were edited. It does something to the brain.

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