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Touch Of Evil (50th Anniversary Edition)

330 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Experience director Orson Welles’ masterpiece Touch of Evil like never before in an all-new 50th Anniversary Edition DVD! Starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Orson Welles himself, this exceptional film noir portrait of corruption and morally compromised obsessions tells the story of a crooked police chief who frames a Mexican youth as part of an intricate criminal plot. Now for the first time ever, see all three versions of the film – the preview version, the theatrical version and the restored version based on Orson Welles’ vision. The Touch of Evil 50th Anniversary Edition commemorates a true cinematic achievement and is an essential addition to the very movie lover’s library!

Additional Features

Universal gave cinephiles a real gift when they issued a restored version of Orson Welles' Touch of Evil in 1998 (since editor/sound designer Walter Murch worked his magic after Welles' demise, the phrase "director's cut" does not apply). In honor of the 50th anniversary of the master's final Hollywood hurrah, they've upped the ante. Not only does this box set include the 96-minute theatrical release and 111-minute restoration, but the 109-minute preview version, which materialized in the mid-1970s (the rough cut no longer exists). All three feature audio commentary--two tracks in the case of Murch's edit. Critic F.X. Feeney comments in a conversational, yet authoritative manner on the 1958 print, noting that he prefers the original opening since it preserves more of Henry Mancini's percussive score. He also describes the border noir as "deeper and wiser" than Citizen Kane. Welles scholars Jonathan Rosenbaum and Joseph Naremore converse about the preview, which incorporates additional material by the filmmaker and Harry Keller. They feel that the relationship between cops Quinlan (Welles) and Menzies (Joseph Calleia) now makes more sense and that Menzies appears more heroic with the deletion of a defeated close-up.

Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, and restoration producer Rick Schmidlin discuss the reconstruction, which Murch assembled according to Welles’ 58-page memo (the box includes a reproduction). To Heston, the old credit sequence was "grotesque." As Welles instructed, Murch moved it to the end. About the overhaul, Leigh enthuses, "I'm so grateful that his legacy will now be represented in the proper way." On the second track, Schmidlin offers a more detailed analysis. The package concludes with the trailer and a two-part oral history featuring Heston, Leigh, Murch, and others who helped Welles transform pulp material into a work that, in his own words, could prove to be "irresistibly interesting." --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Bringing Evil to Life
  • Evil Lost & Found
  • Audio Commentary featuring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Restoration Producer Rick Schmidlin
  • Audio Commentary featuring Restoration Producer Rick Schmidlin
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary featuring Writer / Filmmaker F.X. Feeney
  • Audio Commentary featuring Welles Historians Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Mercedes McCambridge
    • Directors: Orson Welles
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Restored, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
    • Run Time: 316 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (330 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B001CC7PQ2
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,031 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Touch Of Evil (50th Anniversary Edition)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    334 of 354 people found the following review helpful By Toshifumi Fujiwara on November 20, 2000
    Format: DVD
    Generally considered as the ultimate Film Noir (and the last film of the genre), TOUCH OF EVIL is certainly one of the most macabre, bizarre poignant films ever produced in Hollywood. The director Orson Welles is of course the man who made CITIZEN CANE, but many Welles affectionados such as Peter Bogdanovich actually consider TOUCH OF EVIL better than KANE; as a matter of fact the best film Welles has ever directed.
    Welles' bravula mise en scene, with the help of Russel Metty's startling black-and-white lighting and stunning camera movement, transform Venice, California into a chaotic frontier town between the US and Mexico. Charlton Heston, often refereed to as the most wooden actor in American cinema, gives a performance of his life as a Mexican cop. His casting may sound funny, but please forget that it's the same guy who played BEN HUR and Moses in the TEN COMMANDMENTS watching this movie then his highly energetic, rather over-the-top performance is actually convincing, especially as opposed to Welles' deliciously vicious portrayal of a corrupted American cop. It was actually Heston who suggested Universal that Welles would not only act in this film but also direct it, so you should give him some credit. Janet Leigh plays Heston's all-American wife "from Philadelphia", and is also quite marvelous in the way she turns out to be something else that we first think she is. With Hitchcock's PSYCHO and Anthony Mann's THE NAKED SPUR, this is probably her best performance. Metty's contrasty black-and-white photography also makes her very beautiful. She looks always better in blacho and white than in color, don't you think so?
    This unorthodox casting works, because the film is a bigger than life caricature.
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    92 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on July 22, 2003
    Format: DVD
    The story is pretty much known by many that after the heated battle with "Citizen Kane," Orson Welles was never given complete control over his films again. This would lead to the studio editing his movies and changing things he didn't want changed. This was the case with "Touch of Evil," and of course this really upset Welles. Now circumstances are different, as the DVD "Touch of Evil" offers you the restored and uncut version that is as close to Orson Welles' vision as you can get. And the results are pretty amazing, I must admit. "Touch of Evil" is an outstanding film noir that is unlike any you have ever seen.
    It all starts with a car explosion that kills two. A Mexican narcotics investigator and a very obsessive and cold police chief are thrown into the investigation. That's only half the story, as the investigator's wife is confronted by a known criminal and his gang of hoodlums that threaten to cause trouble for them. And what's worse is that the police chief doesn't appear to be the most honorable man in the world, and perhaps is even crooked. This all leads to an explosive plot with an unbelievable finale that is both unpredictable and satisfying. It is very clear why "Touch of Evil" is hailed as a classic by many.
    It's great to see that the movie has been restored to Welles' original vision. I've never seen the studio version of the film, and I never want to. I'm sure they did a fine job butchering it. Welles has done for "Touch of Evil" what Hitchcock has done for "Psycho." The outcome is an authentic and exhilarating film noir that is very different from any other film noir that is out there.
    Charlton Heston is great in his role. He proves to be a pretty convincing Mexican narcotics investigator. Very hard to imagine, but it works on the screen.
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    56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Neville Blender on August 21, 2000
    Format: DVD
    Touch Of Evil has been my all-time favourite film eversince I first viewed it with eyes fixed & mouth agape at the stunning opening sequence. The cinematography is amazing (apart from Robert Foster's corny inserts). Heston agreed to do the movie because he heard Welles was signed on. He would have done anything Welles told him to do, and it shows. Orson gives one of his best cinema appearances as the bent cop, Hank Quinlan. He uses great make-up & costume for the role which still fools viewers till this day. I'd like a dollar for every idiot who comments, "He's not looking too good in this film". Janet Leigh gives nice performance with broken arm & Akim Tamirof nearly steals all the thunder from the others with great character as head Grande. Dennis Weaver is perfect as goofball nightman & Deitrich is unforgetable. This is the greatest film noir ever made. With Welles behind & in front of the camera, it is a feast for all film lovers. After seeing the standard UCLA art house print & the restored print from recent years, I was so glad that someone decided to re-edit the film according to Welles' 58 page memo to MGM. The result is impressive to say the least. Not only do we get to see that famous opening crane shot without obtrusive opening credits, but the entire movie flows a hell of alot smoother & is easier to follow than the earlier theatre cut. Soon we'll all be able to see this masterpiece on DVD, re-edited & including Welle's 58 page memo. Who could ask for more?
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews


    Topic From this Discussion
    Still the wrong aspect ratio
    Yes, I ordered this new 3-version edition hoping that at least the old studio version (which I loved and grew up watching on VHS) would be presented in the correct aspect ratio for DVD. It's ironic that this new package with all it's bells and whistles refused to present it back in the correct... Read More
    Oct 11, 2008 by mashtato |  See all 2 posts
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