Touch of Evil
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This baroque nightmare of a south-of-the-border mystery is considered to be one of the great movies of Orson Welles, who both directed and starred in it. On honeymoon with his new bride, Susan (Janet Leigh), Mexican-born policeman Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston) agrees to investigate a bomb explosion. In so doing, he incurs the wrath of local police chief Hank Quinlan (Welles), a corrupt, bullying behemoth with a perfect arrest record. Vargas suspects that Quinlan has planted evidence to win his past convictions, and he isn't about to let the suspect in the current case be railroaded.… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Expressionistic in the extreme, filled with shadows, angles and cinematic flourishes, the film raises the usual brooding nightmare ambiance of film noir to a level few other pictures have attempted."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Indeed, just to see and hear the extraordinary 3 minute and 20 second opening sequence -- a fluid tour de force tracking shot -- without impediment of opening credits and street-sound-masking movie score is accomplishment enough."
‑ Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Inspired in part by the McCarthy hearings, the movie has lost none of its timeliness: The morality of surveillance technology is among its many themes."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"Justly celebrated for its opening crane-tracking shot, Touch Of Evil is proof of Welles' prodigious film-making talents."
‑ , Total Film
"Welles once fought in a bullring in Spain during his youth. In "Touch of Evil," Welles kills the metaphorical bull."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Having the Touch of Evil envisioned by our most creative filmmaker, is a wondrous gift no movie lover should miss."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"I first saw it when I was 14 and thought it was one of the worst pictures ever -- garish, oppressive, and appallingly overacted. Grown up, I'd go with those same adjectives, except now I think it's one of the best."
‑ David Edelstein, Slate
"This dazzling cinematic achievement has the rare good fortune of being one of those films that somehow seems to improve with each subsequent viewing -- the highest compliment indeed, given that it only takes one showing to evaluate its substantial worth."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Orson Welles' masterwork of greed, treachery and revenge."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"Even 50 years after studio heads lost patience and dumped it onto the bottom half of double bills, the final Hollywood film from Orson Welles is the opposite of ordinary."
‑ Bob Westal,
"[Welles'] scenes with brothel-keeper Marlene Dietrich have nothing to do with the plot and everything to do with the rotting heart of this amazing fable: the apotheosis of pulp."
‑ Anthony Lane, New Yorker
"A sweaty thriller conundrum on character and corruption, justice and the law, worship and betrayal, it plays havoc with moral ambiguities."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"A baroque masterpiece -- dark, complex, perverse, riveting."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Only the elegiac Magnificent Ambersons has such a powerful, all-pervading atmosphere as Touch of Evil..."
‑ Richard T. Jameson, Parallax View
"Delightfully entertaining to watch, it is filled with interesting characters and it is playfully irreverent."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
More reviews for Touch of Evil on Rotten Tomatoes

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