Touch of Evil review: inventive, nightmarish, fun

It has undergone a narrative restoration, but Orson Welles’ baroque masterpiece remains pitch-perfect

Orson Welles as Hank Quinlan in Touch of Evil

Film Title: Touch of Evil

Director: Orson Welles

Starring: Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich

Genre: Crime

Running Time: 112 min

Thu, Jul 9, 2015, 13:55


Mexican-born cop Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston) is honeymooning with his new bride Susan (Janet Leigh) when he agrees to investigate an explosion. Sadly, Vargas’ interest in the case does not suit the corrupt, racist police captain, Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), who cuts a deal with local mobsters to frame Susan on a drug rap. A battle of wits ensues.

Movie lore tells us that Touch of Evil was taken away from its director Orson Welles and was butchered by parent studio Universal. The Genius versus the genius of the system.

In 1998, the film was restored by producers Albert Zugsmith and Rick Schmidlin and editor Walter Murch using the detailed 58-page memo Welles wrote upon seeing the studio cut.