Director: Orson Welles
Producers: Rick Schmidlin, Albert Zugsmith
Director of Photography: Russel Metty
Writer: Orson Welles
Editor : Aaron Stell, Walter Murch
Poduction Designer/ Art Director: Robert Clatworkth
AVF 10 –
In Orson Welles’ classic film noir production Touch of Evil, a Mexican police officer named Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston), becomes the target of an American police officer named Hank Quinlin (Orson Welles), when Vargas attempts to expose Quinlin framing a murder suspect. Quinlin, a celebrity among police officers has become corrupt in his practices and is willing to go any lengths including committing murder to uphold his reputation. Vargas is an honest man who faces Quinlin’s corruption to protect the rights of the accused. In doing so, he puts his wife in danger, who ends up the victim of a plot against Vargas. Although Vargas appears to be the hero, the viewer experiences frustration with his character due to his negligence concerning his wife. Caught between the accuser and the accused, American deputy Pete Menzies (Joseph Calleia) is loyal to Quinlin but later helps Vargas when the truth is revealed.
The tension between Mike Vargas and Hank Quinlin begins very early in the film. The scene in which the two meet for the first time, at the scene of the explosion, establishes Quinlin as a well-respected man whose appearance is larger than life. Quinlin’s arrival to the scene is much awaited based on the conversation between the other officers. When Quinlin finally does arrive the camera immediately jumps from one mans line which is shot at eye level, to a shot of Quinlin exiting his car from very low to the ground, accentuating his size. Quinlin is shot from below in this way for the majority of the film.
The scene edits back and forth from the scene of the explosion to Vargas’ wife who has been led into danger following her dismissal to the hotel. The fact that...
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...he antihero die in his own filth. Quinlin at the point of his death has made his way down the bottom of a bridge and is surrounded by garbage. Tanya who had predicted Quinlin’s impending doom shows up as Quinlin dies.
The film stays in line with classic noir in many ways. The usage of dark sets and high contrast lighting, which creates heavy shadows on the actors faces, makes the movie feel like it all happens at night and in dark alley ways. The story focuses on the inhumane parts of human nature. Each of the main characters experiences some kind of tragedy. For Vargas his tragedy was in dealing with Quinlin who has set out to frame him and his wife. For Quinlin his entire life represented a man consumed with darkness who lives his life with a “Touch of Evil.” Menzies was a hopeful man who looked up to Quinlin but was let down. For the viewer, film noir represents truth, even if it is not a truth that all people would like to hear.
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