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A short review of A Touch of Evil (1958)

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Sep. 2nd, 2007 | 08:50 am

More 'Film Opaque' than 'Film Noir', Touch of Evil is an unparrelled cinematic study of corruption, racism and the morality of the Law.

Welles' direction is again light years ahead of anything contemporaneous, the Mexican border town locale being all shadows, smoke, grime and black & white neon, framed by low angles, long tracking shots and car-mounted cameras. Charlton Heston and Vivien Leigh are good foils to Welles' monstrous police chief Quinlan, the do-gooding newly-weds who are enmeshed in the local web of sin and cartelism.

A proto-Chinatown, this thought-provoking yet highly entertaining film is as good as it gets for the noir genre.

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