Touch of Evil

Touch of Evil (1958) is a written and directed by Orson Welles. He also co-stars as Police Captain Hank Quinlan.
This film was playing at my place tonight as my friends arrived. No one had seen it before. It is a great classic, one of the last examples of Film Noir, and directed by a man who can only be described as (disclaimer: value judgment follows) cinematic legend.
Now I am going to recommend you all rent it (it is widely available, try Pic) if only so that you can better understand all the movies you have already seen that make references to its opening sequence!

For instance,
In the 2008 film In Bruges, the opening sequence of Touch of Evil can be seen playing in the background during the scene when Harry instructs Ken to kill Ray.
The opening scene is replicated midway through Brian De Palma's 1974 camp musical film Phantom of the Paradise. De Palma's version involves a prop car on a theatrical stage being pushed out of the wings with a time-bomb in the trunk and an increasingly panicky blonde passenger. The novel approach here is that De Palma's take was shot in split-screen with Paul Williams's Swan character and the Phantom alternately observing the histrionics from the balcony and proscenium, respectively.
The opening shot is discussed briefly in the opening shot of Robert Altman's 1992 film, The Player, by two characters who work for a fictional Hollywood studio, as the longest opening tracking shot in history. It then goes on to surpass that shot in length. The opening is also referenced by Rainn Wilson in the DVD commentary of The Office episode entitled "Performance Anxiety".
There are plenty of examples, some of them are here. So rent it, you'll like it! It has murder, intrigue, conspiracy, cabarets, all that good stuff! And if that doesn't convince you, ask yourself why you wouldn't want to see Charlton Heston playing a Mexican policeman. Ehhhxactly.


LeWak said...

That scene kills me everytime -

Thanks for posting :)

Altman is so clever.

La Chauve-Souris said...

love da scene