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Monday, January 16, 2012

Touch of Evil

Write up by Connor Dean

I heard from my brother that this film was showing at the Detroit Film Theater this past weekend. The atmosphere of the classic theater itself set the stage for a great movie. I have seen Welles' Citizen Kane, and really enjoyed it. I had no idea what to expect from this movie though. This re-cut version of the film felt very modern. The pacing of the story was such that the sequence of events leading up to climax felt exact and precise. I kept trying to guess how it would pan out, but the lack of assurance in the characters' morals made me second guess myself. I hope the DFT is playing this movie, or other movies like it, sometime soon.

Write up by Ethan Dean

I recently saw Touch of Evil. Unfortunately, it wasn't at the Detroit Film Theater with my brother. However, that did not deter from the experience I had with this movie. The film deals a lot with perception and occupation. Therefore, introductions are everything in this movie. I had heard about the opening tracking shot before I saw this movie, and could easily say that it was far ahead of its time. Orson Welles is a master at creating dynamic visuals, editing shots together, composing sound, and really creating a spectacular overall flow. He's by far the most interesting man on the screen at all times. Against the other men in black suits, he sticks out in his light colored coat. In every scene it seems as though a little more light is being projected on him than the others. His physical presence on screen also gives him a sense of overbearing power over the other men.

There was a quote on the wall in one scene that read, "If you're mean enough to steal from the blind, then HELP YOURSELF." I love when a filmmaker has enough care for his craft to include details like this. They're not set dressers, they serve a purpose in the overall context of the story.

Also, I should mention that the sets are absolutely incredbile in this movie. The lighting is extremely dynamic, yet designed purposefully around the staging of the characters and overall composition. There's one scene where the cast shadow of a pillar leads your eye directly into the figure and maintains flow around the screen. It seems black and white cinematographers tend to be even more conscious of the light on form, contrast, and more design oriented principles. It's really fun to watch.

I really thought this was a tight script. Thematically the film was about the persversion of power. The dialogue was great. In many scenes the dialogue was overlapping making the editing job a little more difficult, and also making it difficult for me to discern who to listen to. However, in the end, everything felt like part of a grand design.

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