I’d never heard of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil – a good reason for working my way through a “great movies” list. I knew that Welles had done a movie or two after Citizen Kane and that he spent virtually his whole adult life black-balled by Hollywood, overweight and bitter. What I “knew” was not entirely true. Welles continued to act and make movies, including this one ten years after Kane. It is praised for its innovative camera work and for its direction, and not its plot, but I found the plot engaging and suspenseful – quite Hitchcockian. It is hard to understand why the Hollywood producers wanted to hack away at its complexities – but those were different times. Seeing the restored version now, the plot doesn’t seem overly complicated at all – the twists and turns around the tight corners of the plot are brilliant and the movie builds to a climax in an expert fashion.
There’s a great supporting performance by Dennis Weaver (McCloud) as a jumpy motel clerk – Anthony Perkins’ performance in Psycho several years later comes to mind.