Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Touch of evil

Touch of evil had a few clichés from the old style sleuth and caper movies of the 50’s. The dialogues seemed to be more complex and dramatic as the use of different filming styles such as the angles and crane shots. Made it seem definitely a more American style of filming compared to the other films we have watched. Even the sheriff, Quinlan, tends to get the odd close up of the camera on him, sort of a way of showing his size and intimidation. Also, seems to be a limited use of film score as more audible background music such as the car radios are heard when the cars drive by. Mike Vargas was an interesting character. He attempted to solve a bombing case during his honeymoon and the real story ends up being his attempt to bring down Sheriff Quinlan and at the end they don’t even find out who planned the bomb. Even Quinlan had his own agenda as he felt threatened by Vargas as he was cramming his style as his reputation was taking a hit. A lot went unanswered and too many different scenes going on without much explanations. What I found interesting was the fact that they made Charlton Heston look Mexican and when he spoke the director made the attempt to drown him out with ambient noises, like loud music or people talking out loud so as to not hear his accent when he spoke Spanish. He would say a couple of words but you wouldn’t hear him say much else. There was also the cue used by the other characters to tell him to speak in English as a way to cut off his Spanish speaking lines. What I also found rather interesting was the methodical approach the gangsters took. They seem to take their time and like to play around with Mike Vargas’ wife Susan. They seem to be preoccupied with involving the wife into the affairs when they could just go right to Mike. Like when the gangster tells her to follow him also at the hotel where she stays by herself. What I found to be really weird is that hotel clerk who kind of acted and sounded creepy. She is in a strange place and why would she want to stay by herself and why her husband would leave her alone…so much for a honeymoon. What was hard to follow was to the extreme lengths they went to try and frame the wife as they tried to frame her and also take her credibility away. Why didn’t they just take Mike Vargas out of the picture as they had so many attempts?


  1. They actually do find out that it was Sanchez who planted the bomb. In the end it mentioned that he had admitted.
    I am not sure what you mean by 'looking Mexican' and am in fact a bit troubled by that... that is if painting his face brown makes him look Mexican. His face is still that of a white man. In fact, I probably would have found it more believable and acceptable if they had simply said he was Mexican, even if he was fair-skinned.

  2. Indeed, as Alyssa says, the irony is that in the end Quinlan was right... Sánchez had indeed planted the bomb. (Though in the end, I think, we don't really care who did it; our attention and interest has been drawn elsewhere.)

  3. The comment about the bomb is interesting, I don't know if it was Sanchez who planted the bomb or maybe it was because of manipulation. When I saw it I just assumed it was another manipulation game they were playing with each other.