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TOUCH OF EVIL
(1958, Welles)





Set in the US-Mexican border, Touch of Evil follows the investigation of a car bombing that kills a wealthy businessman and his girlfriend. Even though he's on his honeymoon, "Mexican" agent Miguel Vargas (Charlton Heston) tries to assist in the investigation, which is led by Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), a veteran but shady officer that might have other motivations in mind.

Objectively speaking, this is a pretty good film. Welles does a great job both behind and in front of the camera. His Quinlan is certainly despicable, but still layered. There's so much thing that he does with his expressions and his stance that communicate so much. As for his direction, what can be said? From the impressive opening shot, you know you're in for a technical treat. He uses some techniques similar to the ones he used in Citizen Kane, low angle shots, pans and zooms, but he also manages to create a good deal of tension, especially regarding the fate of Vargas' wife, Susie (Janet Leigh).

However, one can't deny the context of some of the other decisions made for this. As good as Heston's performance is, his casting as a "dark-skinned Mexican" is... problematic, to say the least. Moreover when he ends up being the *only* "honorable" Latino character in the film, while the others are all thugs, criminals, or prostitutes. There are some things I can give a pass, chalk it up to just a sign of the times. But there are others, like the implications of a single throwaway line in the ending, which kinda neuters any goodwill the film could have.

Grade:
?


Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF4.
It's in my Top 50 but yes, your reluctance to go all in on it is perfectly valid and understandable. At least to me. The brownface is flagrantly offensive and the characterizations come off like something Tarantino (not a big fan obviously) would write. I'd like to think that all the praise and all the love for this is due to Welles' artistry and expertise.



It's in my Top 50 but yes, your reluctance to go all in on it is perfectly valid and understandable. At least to me. The brownface is flagrantly offensive and the characterizations come off like something Tarantino (not a big fan obviously) would write. I'd like to think that all the praise and all the love for this is due to Welles' artistry and expertise.
I think there's a mixture of good, but misguided intentions, and the typical racist leanings of the era, however conscious or not they might be. I mean, I understand that Heston was cast in the lead role of an American. It was only after he brought up Welles that he decided to change the character to a Mexican "for political reasons". But with Heston already on board, I doubt they would've been willing to dump him, considering that he was the big star, but also because at the time, few studios would've dared to have a leading Latino actor in a film like this. So as much as I'd be willing to give some of this stuff a pass, it doesn't make it any less wrong.

But then there's the issue of the story, and how...

WARNING: spoilers below
...the fact that the arrested Mexican ends up confessing sorta concedes that despite his methods, Quinlan was "right", so it doesn't really push forward any progressive agenda at all.
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I think there's a mixture of good, but misguided intentions, and the typical racist leanings of the era, however conscious or not they might be. I mean, I understand that Heston was cast in the lead role of an American. It was only after he brought up Welles that he decided to change the character to a Mexican "for political reasons". But with Heston already on board, I doubt they would've been willing to dump him, considering that he was the big star, but also because at the time, few studios would've dared to have a leading Latino actor in a film like this. So as much as I'd be willing to give some of this stuff a pass, it doesn't make it any less wrong.

But then there's the issue of the story, and how...

WARNING: spoilers below
...the fact that the arrested Mexican ends up confessing sorta concedes that despite his methods, Quinlan was "right", so it doesn't really push forward any progressive agenda at all.
Excellent points.



Il posto - 7/10
Like a fart interrupting a nice conversation.
That would also depend on the type of flatus. Are we talking a demure balloon squeak or one of those cheek flapping, window rattling, car alarm triggering hate crimes?



TOUCH OF EVIL
(1958, Welles)





Set in the US-Mexican border, Touch of Evil follows the investigation of a car bombing that kills a wealthy businessman and his girlfriend. Even though he's on his honeymoon, "Mexican" agent Miguel Vargas (Charlton Heston) tries to assist in the investigation, which is led by Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), a veteran but shady officer that might have other motivations in mind.

Objectively speaking, this is a pretty good film. Welles does a great job both behind and in front of the camera. His Quinlan is certainly despicable, but still layered. There's so much thing that he does with his expressions and his stance that communicate so much. As for his direction, what can be said? From the impressive opening shot, you know you're in for a technical treat. He uses some techniques similar to the ones he used in Citizen Kane, low angle shots, pans and zooms, but he also manages to create a good deal of tension, especially regarding the fate of Vargas' wife, Susie (Janet Leigh).

However, one can't deny the context of some of the other decisions made for this. As good as Heston's performance is, his casting as a "dark-skinned Mexican" is... problematic, to say the least. Moreover when he ends up being the *only* "honorable" Latino character in the film, while the others are all thugs, criminals, or prostitutes. There are some things I can give a pass, chalk it up to just a sign of the times. But there are others, like the implications of a single throwaway line in the ending, which kinda neuters any goodwill the film could have.

Grade:
?


Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF4.
I love this movie but it's kind of in spite of Heston.
When I think that they could have cast Ricardo Montalban but didn't have the ballz... sigh.



I love this movie but it's kind of in spite of Heston.
When I think that they could have cast Ricardo Montalban but didn't have the ballz... sigh.
I'm trying to picture Montalban in the role. It certainly would have added a much needed air of authenticity to the proceedings. And he does have that innate patrician aura that would have fit the character to a tee. I wonder how we'd be judging that particular interpretation 63 years later?



I'm trying to picture Montalban in the role. It certainly would have added a much needed air of authenticity to the proceedings. And he does have that innate patrician aura that would have fit the character to a tee. I wonder how we'd be judging that particular interpretation 63 years later?
Watch Mystery Street from 1950. It'll clear everything up.



Watch Mystery Street from 1950. It'll clear everything up.
Thanks for the heads up! I had already set my DVR to record Border Incident with Montalban and George Murphy on the 13th on TCM and I had run across Mystery Street on the same night. I was intrigued by the synopsis but wanted to research it first and ended up forgetting. It does sound compelling though. A noir directed by John Sturges? Montalban as a Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant? I'm so glad you reminded me.



Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
Dave Chappelle: The Closer - 5/10
Definitely his worst special. I think his first one (Killing em Softly) was his best.... He spends 95% of his time talking about .000001% of the population, and it's not funny. Not profound. I even lit a joint halfway through, which has helped in the past, but not this time. I saw this last night, but completely forgot about it until I saw his name somewhere on the internet. The last 10 minutes were alright, though. I can see why he's done making specials for a while.


I commend him for not hitting the mic into his body 100 times.. He's a likable guy, but he's doing the same thing over and over. It was more of a conversation. I saw him live twice, even met him once.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I'm trying to picture Montalban in the role. It certainly would have added a much needed air of authenticity to the proceedings. And he does have that innate patrician aura that would have fit the character to a tee. I wonder how we'd be judging that particular interpretation 63 years later?
Watch Mystery Street from 1950. It'll clear everything up.
Thanks for the heads up! I had already set my DVR to record Border Incident with Montalban and George Murphy on the 13th on TCM and I had run across Mystery Street on the same night. I was intrigued by the synopsis but wanted to research it first and ended up forgetting. It does sound compelling though. A noir directed by John Sturges? Montalban as a Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant? I'm so glad you reminded me.
Allow me to add this intriguing film to my watchlist as well. Not sure if I've seen much of Montalban's very early work and this looks ideal. THANKS!!
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Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.



Allow me to add this intriguing film to my watchlist as well. Not sure if I've seen much of Montalban's very early work and this looks ideal. THANKS!!




Professional horse shoe straightener
'My heart can't beat unless you tell it to' (2021)

Dir: Jonathan Cuartas




Wow, this was a surprise. Completely excellent film about the conscience of caring for an ill loved one versus the freedom of wanting it to be over.

So sad that you have to rely on word of mouth these days to unearth gems like this while other lesser films get marketed the hell out of just because they can afford it.

Great job by all involved, although there are a few holes in it, it is very well directed and Patrick Fugit does a good job as the big brother with alot on his shoulders. Really liked it.

7.7/10




'My heart can't beat unless you tell it to' (2021)

Dir: Jonathan Cuartas




Wow, this was a surprise. Completely excellent film about the conscience of caring for an ill oved one versus the freedom of wanting it to be over.

So sad that you have to rely on word of mouth these days to unearth gems like this while other lesser films get marketed the hell out of just because they can afford it.

Great job by all involved, although there are a few holes in it, it is very well directed and Patrick Fugit does a good job as the big brother with alot on his shoulders. Really liked it.

7.7/10

Havenít seen a single review of this but have put it in my Netflix Q based on your comments. I better like it!!! No, just kidding.
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Professional horse shoe straightener
Havenít seen a single review of this but have put it in my Netflix Q based on your comments. I better like it!!! No, just kidding.
What's the worst that could happen? Only 90 minutes.



The Others







Chappelle goes out with a smirk not a belly laugh but it's still a profound series of specials. A number of his finale is a response to the controversy and he handles it well...not perfectly but well. While it's hard to agree with him he's definitely humanized his position well.



'My heart can't beat unless you tell it to' (2021)

Dir: Jonathan Cuartas




Wow, this was a surprise. Completely excellent film about the conscience of caring for an ill loved one versus the freedom of wanting it to be over.

So sad that you have to rely on word of mouth these days to unearth gems like this while other lesser films get marketed the hell out of just because they can afford it.

Great job by all involved, although there are a few holes in it, it is very well directed and Patrick Fugit does a good job as the big brother with alot on his shoulders. Really liked it.

7.7/10

Have you seen (or read) A Monster Calls?



Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018)



This is an amazing movie. Perhaps one of the best anime movies ever. Mari Okada really knows how to pull of some powerful dramas.