Touch of Evil

Touch of Evil

By Orson Welles

  • Genre: Orson Welles
  • Release Date: 1958-04-23
  • Advisory Rating: Unrated
  • Runtime: 1h 35min
  • Director: Orson Welles
  • Production Company: Universal International Pictures
  • iTunes Price: USD 9.99
  • iTunes Rent Price: USD 3.99
From 730 Ratings


This exceptional film noir portrait of corruption and morally-compromised obsessions stars Welles as Hank Quinlan, a crooked police chief who frames a Mexican youth as part of an intricate criminal plot. Charlton Heston plays an honorable Mexican narcotics investigator who clashes with the bigoted Quinlan after probing into his dark past. A memorable supporting cast including Janet Leigh as Heston's inquisitive wife, Akim Tamiroff as a seedy underworld leader, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Marlene Dietrich as an enigmatic gypsy complete this fascinating drama engulfed in haunting cinematography and a magnificently eerie score by Henry Mancini.




  • A Classic Tedious Bore

    By Rock Hound
    In movie's first 5 minutes, most of the twists and turns of the plot are spelled out in B*I*G letters for even the most casual viewer. Where there are no surprises there is no suspense. And no suspense means no dramatic film. Welles does his best Broderick Crawford imitation (Crawford as in the 1950's TV show "Highway Patrol.") Heston, wisely, does little to flesh out his character--Why make an effort when the screen-writing is so sloppy? Janet Leigh in this film gets acid tossed her way and later is molested by young thugs, but made for a far more believable victim in the following year, 1959, with "Psycho." "Touch of Evil" cannot be called film noir, which seems the label most favored by the professional critics. Film Noir is "Out of the Past," for example. I suspect the movie's on- as well as off-screen crews were surprised when this modest little joke became "successful" with a lot of viewers.
  • Absolute Classic Film Noir!

    By Mr.Altruism77
    Touch of Evil is in it’s own class. This movie is stunning in all facets of movie making. The cast is amazing, The script is a parody of sarcasm intertwined with comedic bits. The cimetography is harsh and cold, yet haunting with great camera angles and dark shadows everywhere. I love this movie so much, I watch it at least 1 or 2 times a month. Orson Welles is absolutely amazing! His line, “ whoever planted the bomb, ya jackass” is remarkable is it’s searing sarcasm and dark comedic value. Brilliant movie - buy it!
  • Buy the Criterion Restored Version Instead!

    By StiffyB
    The Criterion release contains a painstakingly restored version that is in accordance with changes requested by Welles and ignored by the Studio. Not "Welles' Version", exactly - but closer to what he apparently intended. This is the original Theatrical release, the shortest and most flawed of the Three existing cuts of the Film. Spend the $$ on the superior version.
  • Great movie, awful transfer

    By outer limits fan
    This is Wells at his best, but this movie was filmed in the Academy Aspect ratio (almost square.) The version offered here has been hacked (top and bottom cut off) and screen enlarged to fit a 16 x 9 TV screen! NO movie has ever been filmed in 16 x 9! I don't know why Universal thinks they know movie composition better then Wells did. I asked for (and received) a refund from Apple. They were very nice about it, but I wish they would refuse these butchered versions when the studio trys to pawn them off.
  • Not the restored version

    By BRBonowicz
    Unsure who’s responsible for something like this but the version of the film being sold is not the restoration.
  • Too much grit for its own good

    By Furutan1
    This is a seedy fifties movie with a seedy story, but which is filled with innovative cinematography. It is a particularly hard-bitten version of film noir with characters that are extremely two-dimensional. You are aware of who it is you are supposed to root for, but you the film doesn't provide any compelling reason to do so. It has two cameos: a throw-away scene with Zsa Zsa Gabor and some putty making an appearance as Orson Welles' nose. As for its oddities, the most notable element is that it provides Dennis Weaver with the most totally bizarre role of his entire career. When The Gallant Hours came around two years after this, it provided Weaver with a platform that allowed him to demonstrate his talents as a serious actor. Punctuated by the sounds of bongos and sleazy rock and roll, and featuring leather jacketed marijuana-crazed teen hoodlums on loan from Reefer Madness, the story winds around in the dirt from one annoyance to the next, making you wonder what was in the script would attract the likes of Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, and Marlene Dietrich. One would assume that it was Welle's still-lingering mystique. The film, while shot largely in an urban location, has an intentional separation between an vaguely populated world and individual wooden characters rattling around in a series of box-like abstractions. When it is over you are more than willing to return to the world of the living. Other than the innovative cinematography and its appeal to film students, there is not much to recommend this film. You watch it once to say that you have done so, then you never watch it again.
  • Touch Of Evil

    By cutnshoot
    "He was some kind of a man."
  • Touch of evil

    By Head Maroon
    This film was not worth the time nor the rental fee.
  • indie-noir at its best.

    By NC-17 for sure
    Dietrich is brilliant in her final scene. Welles is brilliant, as always. Zsa Zsa Gabor, a touch of genius here. This movie is indie-noir at its best.
  • not what is says

    By xyxxyzyxyz
    I /LOVE/ "Touch of Evil", it is a fantastic film, but you relly need the restored version. Despite what the blurb says, this is NOT the restored version. I asked for a refund.