It is that time of year when Charlton Heston dominates Turner Classic Movies. Yes, the man who was the Omega Man and the last tal adidas king human on the Planet of the Apes is probably better known for his biblical pictures The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur (see column). I always get nostalgic for Charlton Heston movies come Easter and this year, Universal Studios supplied me with the Touch of Evil Limited Edition Blu ray. It Easter, so this time I decided to watch him play a Mexican.
The first time I watched Orson Well Touch of Evil (1958) was during film class. It left me high and dry. I didn care for the film and completely chalked it up to it being a period piece. The great thing about movies is that they never change, you do. So you can go back an rediscover a film your younger self might not have cared for. Universal Studios has re released Touch of Evil since the last time I saw it. In 1998, they recut the film based on Orson Wells 58 pages of notes he wrote to the studio after they re cut his film. My memory about it is sketchy at best. I know the studio wanted Charlton Heston to play the Mexican lawyer, Mike Vargas, and that the babe who dies in the shower from Psycho, Janet Leigh, plays his wife. If anyone was a force in Hollywood, it was certainly Orson Wells. So let go back to 1958 (1998 re release) and Touch of Evil.
Charlton Heston plays a Mexican lawyer named Mike Vargas, who is about to break open a huge drug case in Mexico City. He and his wife, Susie (Janet Leigh), are on their honeymoon near the US/ Mexican border. They witness a car explode and Mike decides to get involved. The prominent businessman death will be bad for Mexico and Mike knows he can help. As it turns out, Mike is actually prosecuting one member of their family. No threats or violent acts ever take place, but Mike and Susie both know that they are in danger. Enter Orson Wells Captain Hank Quinlan. He is a local celebrity police officer who always gets his man, a long time vet adidas eran of the force who has very little to show for it. When the prominent businessman daughter arrives to identify her father body, Quinlan puts a tale on her. She then leads him to his first suspect. That is the catalyst for the events in Touch of Evil. Quickly, Mike sees tha adidas t Quinlan plays by his own rules. Guilty or not, no one is safe from his judgement.
When I watched the film in college, it was before the re release. Oddly enough, I doubt my professors would have gotten the latest edition any way. It is safe to say that I probably saw the 1976 version or the version that the studio created prior to the release of the film back in 1958. A version that was discovered in the vaults at Universal in 1976. I also wasn a huge fan of Orson Wells. It might sound strange, but to no fault of his own, everyone says his Citizen Kane is the greatest film of all time. I would argue it is Casablanca, so to see him here in Touch of Evil, as a fat, pompous, snake in the grass, softens me up a bit because here I am, allowed to hate him.
Watching the film now in 2014 has allowed me to see how ahead of the times Wells r adidas eally was. This is an incredibly dark film where the lines between right and wrong become blurred. That wasn the kind of film Hollywood was making back in 1958. So imagine my surprise when an obviously dated film still carried its weight and is poignant today. The catalyst for pitting Mike Vargas against Captain Hank Quinlan returns in the last reel, but, by that point, you are already touched by evil. It is Easter and I will break out my Blu ray of Benn Hur and my Ten Commandments Special Edition DVD. However, next year, I watch old Chuck Heston play a Mexican again, too.
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. The Nut Job (Blu ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
2. Phantom of the Opera (1989) [PAL] (Region Free) [Blu ray]
3. Double Indemnity 70th Anniversary Limited Edition (Blu ray + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
4. Touch of Evil Limited Edition (Blu ray + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [Blu ray]
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
Boys of Abu Ghraib Starring John Heard, Sean Astin and Sara Paxton
Cold Blooded Starring Ryan Robbins, Zoie Palmer and William MacDonald
Confession of Murder [Blu ray] Starring Jung Jae young, Jo Eun ji, Jang Gwang Choi Won young
Confine Starring Alfie Allen and Eliza Bennett
Death Do Us Part Starring Peter Benson, Julia Benson, Christine Chatelain
Free Ride Starring Anna Paquin, Cam Gigandet and Drea de Matteo
Legend of the Red Reaper Starring Tara Cardinal, David Mackey, Al Snow and Barry Ratcliff
Sherlock Holmes: Classic Film and Radio Collection (Videobook) Starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming
Smokin’ Aces (Blu ray + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet) Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Joseph Ruskin and Alex Rocco
Switch [Blu ray/DVD Combo] Starring Andy Lau
Trap for Cinderella Starring Aneurin Barnard and Tuppence MiddletonFrom the New World: Collection 1 [Blu ray]
From the New World: Collection 1
Heaven’s Lost Property: Season 1 Classic (Blu ray/DVD Combo) Starring Greg Ayres, Brittney Karbowski and Eric Vale