You suggested dozens of films, voted, and selected “Touch of Evil” as a special addition to wrap up this year’s series. Artistically innovative and emotionally gripping, Orson Welles’ classic noir is a visual treat, as well as a dark, sinister thriller. 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. Touch of Evil dissects the nature of good and evil in a hallucinatory, nightmarish ambience, helped by the shadow-laden cinematography of Russell Metty and by the cast, which, along with Tamiroff and Welles includes Charlton Heston as a Mexican; Marlene Dietrich, in a brunette wig, as a brittle madam who delivers the movie’s unforgettable closing words; Mercedes McCambridge as a junkie; Dennis Weaver as a tremulous motel clerk, and of course, Janet Leigh.
Touch of Evil has been released with four different running times — 95 minutes for the 1958 original, which was taken away from Welles and brutally cut by the studio; 108 minutes and 114 minutes in later versions; and 111 minutes in the 1998 restoration. Based on a 58-page memo written by Welles after he was barred from the editing room during the film’s original post-production, this restoration, among numerous other changes, removed the opening titles and Henry Mancini’s music from the opening crane shot, which in either version ranks as one of the most remarkably extended long takes in movie history. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovitrailer