Touch of Evil

Director: Orson Welles
Screenwriters: Whit Masterson, Orson Welles

Institute History

  • 1986 Sundance Film Festival


Coming towards the end of the film noir cycle, Touch of Evil is even more harsh, perverse and bizarre than The Lady From Shanghai. Charlton Heston plays a Mexican police chief recently married to Janet Leigh. An attempt on Heston’s life brings Welles into the picture, playing a grotesquely overstuffed American detective, a sweaty pig of a man slurring out lines like “Didn’t ya bring any doughnuts or sweetrolls?” Other highlights include Marlene Dietrich in a cameo as an aging whorehouse madame and, in a particularly weird scene, Dennis Weaver playing a proto-Norman Bates to Janet Leigh in a destitute hotel (remember the film precedes Hitchcock’s Psycho by three years.) Five stars for this cult classic.

Screening Details

  • Section: Orson Welles Remembered, Chimes at Night
  • Film Type: Dramatic Feature
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Run Time: 108 min.
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