Jazz On Film Presents Touch Of Evil
Wed 14 January 2009 // 20:00
(Weds 14th / 8pm / £4/3)
(Orson Welles / 1958 / USA / 111 minutes / cert 12)
Starting with possibly the best ever crane shot in cinematic history, Orson Welles’ 1958 noir masterpiece Touch of Evil, now restored and recut according to his detailed instructions, is a perverse and compelling study of border tensions: between Mexico and the US, the rule of law and the desire for vengeance, loyalty and truth, an inescapable past and a future all used up. The film stars the bloated and magnificent Welles himself as a corrupt and haunted American detective, Charlton Heston as his straightlaced Mexican opposite, together with Marlene Dietrich as a sardonic bawd, the superbly creepy Akim Tamiroff as local crime bigwig Uncle Joe Grande, Janet Leigh and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Henry Mancini’s jazz soaked score, featuring demented pianola, woozy salsa, frantic jive and sharp saxophone creates a vertiginous and disorienting sound world which perfectly complements the film’s virtuoso cinematography and deep moral ambiguity.