91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
"And this is where you're going to die...",
This review is from: Touch of Evil (Widescreen Edition) (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. Orson Welles is unrelenting and chilling as the police chief, Hank Quinlan. No way in the world could the part have been played by anybody else. Janet Leigh also gives an unforgettable performance that gives the movie the extra kick it needs.
The DVD has a few extras. The picture and sound is really good, considering how old of a film it is. It is a very clear-cut transfer that does the movie justice. Extra features included are production notes, cast and crew bios, the original theatrical trailer, and Welles' complete memo to the studio about how he felt about the changes forced upon the film. It would've been nice to see this film get the "2-disk" treatment, but hopefully that will happen sometime in the future. I think many will be impressed with the fact that the film is now uncut and restored, leading to them not being too let down that there aren't many extras.
"Touch of Evil" is a great film that kept my complete attention from start to finish. Some may not like it since the pace can be slow at times, but that is the nature of film noir. The overall product is a dark and haunting film that was groundbreaking then and continues to be groundbreaking now. Highly recommended for huge film buffs, but then again chances are you have already seen it. I was very pleased with the film and it will be one that I will watch again and again. If you're looking for a different and exciting experience, be sure to give it a try. After all, the worst that can happen is you not liking the movie in the end. I think it's worth the risk.