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22. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

My favorite Welles film.

The film is probably most famous for it’s opening scene, which is just one long unedited take that lasts about 15 minutes. I am not sure if Welles was the first to really try and do a long unedited take with elaborate camera movements, but he does it really well, and deserves credit. It’s also the inspiration for one of my favorite music videos Xzibit‘s “What U See Is What You Get“.

Chuck Heston plays a Mexican cop(really?) who looks like Johnny Drama, like I am talking a dead ringer. It’s pretty trippy actually. Orson Welles plays a fat guy, now that’s what I call acting.

I think Welles is pretty amazing as a corrupt and powerful cop. He is just so evil, like so evil you would want to throw a shoe at him. Major-league heel if I ever seen one. That combined with his grotesque appearance just makes the film for me. Heston is ok as the good guy, and he is pretty restrained here which is nice to see. I am pretty indifferent to Chuck, but generally I find he takes away from the films he is in just through his hammishness. Think of it in wrestling terms where you have a an incredible heel making a mediocre babyface look like a million bucks. Welles is just so hateable that you end up liking Heston despite his weak accent. The best example I can think of is the Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko feud, in which Jericho’s over-the-top crybaby routine got so over that Dean Malenko(a talented but uncharismatic wrestler) got over huge as face without having to do anything really.

Welles is just so slimy as he arranges for Heston’s wife to be kidnapped, raped, and drugged all to protect himself from being exposed as horribly corrupt. Normally I cheer for heels, but in this case Welles is just so evil you really want to see him done in.

On filmaffinity.com I gave the film a 9/10, simply because it’s awesome in pretty much every way. Watch this film.

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