Vengeance Ever Planned!
Notes: The picture is anamorphic widescreen with a 1.85:1 aspect
ratio and looks great. I am enjoying some of these old black and
white films more than the brand new films on DVD because the last time I
saw some of the new ones was in the theater and the presentation was great
in the theater. For these old films the last time I saw them was on
TV or "even better" VHS and they had a super shitty Pan and Scan transfer.
Now we can see the films as they were intended and they look great.
The sound is as good a can be expected for 2.0 mono. The extras
include Welles' Memo that explained what changes he wanted made to the
film (this is a director's cut), theatrical trailer, and production notes.
Not stuffed with extras, but what do you expect with a film of this age?
I have a weakness for film noir and this is good stuff.
Film noir means dark film and this indeed is a dark film, both in look and
feel. Touch of Evil presents an entire world of corruption and
darkness. The main character Hank Quinlan played by Orson Welles is a
repulsive police chief that is capable of any amount of evil. He plants
evidence to make arrests, plans the corruption of innocent women, shoots
old buddies when they become inconvenient, and drinks like a fish. (DM
thinks he's not so bad) On top of that he is fat as hell, looks unclean,
and never seems to sleep. With Hank Quinlan there is a whole plethora of
other seedy characters to fill this film. Evil bikers, lesbian tough
girls, mobsters like Uncle Joe, and psycho motel employees (this guy
shouldn't have been allowed on the set, he's a non-acting SOB).
The cinematography in Touch of Evil rocks. The beginning tracking shot,
with the bomb in the car driving down the street is tense and filmed
really well. The street and alley shots are great. They look dirty and
carry a feel of griminess to them. The desert shots are fantastic. If you
don't think a black and white film can do nature shots justice, see this
There are some cheesy parts of the film, mostly at the motel and anytime
that dumbass psycho motel employee hits the screen for sure. (How did that
guy make it into the film?) Lots of implied things were done to Susan
Vargas (Janet Leigh) but we find out later that it was just faked to
tarnish her reputation. It would have been better to omit that information
and leave it up to your imagination as to what happened to Mrs. Vargas.
Those parts aside though, there is much more here to like than to dislike.
Great characters, cinematography, and overall atmosphere make this one a