Episode 221 – Touch of Evil (1958)

Well, as you might guess, we’re serving up this week’s edition of “Monochrome” with just a touch . . . OF EVIL! Oh yes, we can tell how surprised you are; you didn’t expect us to serve up our usually tasty podcast with just a hint, perhaps a smattering, nay, just a touch . . . OF EVIL! Cut me some slack, I never realized how much fun it is to add “… OF EVIL!” to the end of every sentence. Mike may have subtly hinted that I was overdoing it, what with all the throwing of horseshoes at my head and such. But massive head injuries aside, this week’s entry is an intriguing cinematic bit of film noir involving a possibly crooked police captain, played by Orson Welles, and a Mexican narcotics agent, played by noted Mexican actor . . . Charleton Heston? Ummm . . . are we sure this one didn’t belong in our “Whitewashing” series? Well, regardless, you’ll only get Charleton’s unconvincing magic-markered mustache away from him when you pry it from his cold, dead upper lip. Which, ew. We’ve also got Janet Leigh, who has learned nothing about checking into an isolated motel from her experience in “Psycho”, Dennis Weaver, at his twitchiest, Zsa Zsa Gabor, at her barely-there-iest, and . . . Marlene Dietrich, at her “what the heck are you doing in this movie, Ms. Dietrich”-iest. Seriously, spoiler alert, but watching Orson Welles act alongside Marlene . . . well, that should have been the whole movie. But it isn’t, so is it worth watching anyway? Hurry and give a listen because I’m not feeling so hot right now. I might be coming down with a touch . . . OF EVIL! (I’ll stop now).

Poll question: Orson Welles: yea or nay? As actor or director, do you like him or is he over-rated?

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2 thoughts on “Episode 221 – Touch of Evil (1958)”

  1. I do love this movie, I haven’t seen the non restored version in decades. It’s has a camp feel to me. One of the streets at night was also used in the film Dementia, better known as Daughter of Horror which allegedly is narrated by Ed MacMahon. Another black and white suggestion… The original Cat People, the sequel Curse of the Cat people is equally good.

    I am not sure about Welles as person but as an actor an director he was amazing. We can only imagine what he would have done if he wasn’t blackballed much of his career and wasn’t always chasing money for years and tears to make projects.

    1. I agree. With Welles, we’ll always have to wonder if the Welles’ version of anything would really have been -that good- or if it was all just moaning about the constrictions of the studio. His acting we can see and judge. There, he was pretty amazing.

      Thanks for the black and white suggestions! We might well come back to this series later on when we run out of ideas and it would be good to go a bit further afield from the usual choices. Appreciate it, Vince!

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