Touch of Evil Review- Classic Crime Thriller

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by Joshua Winchester

In the annals of American cinema, there have arisen many great actors and directors, leaving their mark on the silver screen with works that have continued to delight audiences for years. But one of the true greats is a man who not only acted and directed, but wrote his movies as well. I am speaking of the late, great Orson Welles.

Throughout the years of his life Welles made many great films, Citizen Kane, Magnificent Ambersons, and the list goes on and on. But one of his films that I believe is truly great came at a later point in his life. It has been hailed as one of the last great noir films of the genre, with a cast of amazing actors, a plot so compelling it keeps you in your seat and cinematography that is astounding to behold. I speak of the great crime thriller film Touch of Evil.

Touch of Evil has everything a person could want in a crime thriller film. Action, suspense, gorgeous leading ladies, a handsome leading man, and Orson Welles filling the role of a villain who is so obviously vile and wicked it isn’t even funny.

Two things stand out the most in this movie. One is the cast…and what a cast it is. Charlton Heston is leading man in this picture, with Janet Leigh in the role of leading lady. Filling in secondary roles are such stalwarts of the big screen as Akim Tamiroff, Joanna Cooke Moore, Ray Collins, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Marlene Dietrich and of course, Orson Welles.

The cinematography in the movie is the second thing that stands out. Wide angle shots, tight close ups and the use of shadows as a means of heightening tension in a scene that showcases Welles talents as a director and storyteller.

If ever there was a film that stood out in Orson Welles career as one of his later great achievements, it is truly Touch of Evil.

Listen to the Josh Winchester Show every Monday afternoon from 3 to 7pm only on WCRX-FM, Chicago’s Underground.

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