Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 1, 2016

TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)

Writing-directing-co-starring, Orson Welles’ final major-studio Hollywood production, a twisty police procedural crisscrossing a pair of Cal/Mex border towns with film noir stylings, is so darn entertaining, it’s hard to believe it tanked on release, dumped by Universal Pictures who ignored Welles’ detailed editing notes, releasing a reworked cut that made things harder to follow, and possibly more visually baroque. Even so, thousands of film fans eventually found the ‘pop’ masterpiece thru the faults, and in 1998, a Welles-worthy restoration, largely following his long dismissed editing memo (a remarkable document in its own right), revealed the film as even more of a knock-out. The story sets up a clash between Orson’s old-school detective (canny, corpulent, corrupt) & Charlton Heston’s principled Mexican narcotics official (dragged into a local murder investigation on his honeymoon). But when Welles gets caught planting evidence, he ties himself in with a drug-running Mexican criminal clan to fight off career-ending exposure. Wonderfully designed (who found these locations?); fabulously cast with an eye toward the absurd (look quick for uncredited turns from Joseph Cotten & Mercedes McCambridge); and gleefully shot in heart-of-darkness style by the notoriously grumpy Russell Metty; the film is a cornucopia morbid delights.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: No one in Hollywood knows how to cook! Note the opening shot where a mysterious hand sets one of those little plastic kitchen timers to trigger a bomb in three minutes. They turn the little dial exactly to three. No good, you need to go past the mark, and then turn it back to engage the spring with enough energy to run the mechanism. Otherwise, it’ll run out of ‘tick’ before going off. That poor little timer is used in a lot of films, always incorrectly.

DOUBLE-BILL: The tricky ending, with a hidden microphone and a shortwave recording device capturing a confession, is straight out of John Sturges’ THE PEOPLE AGAINST O’HARA/’51 which has Spencer Tracy in the Welles’ spot.

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: Everything about the reconstructed cut is an improvement. But the famous long opening shot sure is snazzy looking with the credits & Henry Mancini’s mood-setting score artfully placed on top. (See the original release version.) And speaking of having a look, Hitchcock must have taken a good long one at this, especially the motel scenes with Janet Leigh & Dennis Weaver, before making PSYCHO/’60.

No comments: