#24 – Touch of Evil
We might ponder that Citizen Kane was one of his few films to NOT feel the touch of a Neanderthal’s scissors. (Welles’s contract forbade it; the studio merely tried to BURY that one.) Kane gives us a tantalizing glimpse into what films like The Magnificent Ambersons and Touch of Evil may have been like before some studio exec got it into his head that he too was a FILMMAKER. Some people are very good at making films, and other people are very good at financing and marketing films, and never the twain shall meet. Whenever I think about the cultural vandalism that destroyed part of Welles’s work it makes my blood boil, and I am reminded of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus skit involving a spurned architect…
(After being rejected)
Well, of course, this is just the sort blinkered, philistine pig-ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage.... You sit there on your loathsome, spotty behinds squeezing blackheads, not caring a tinker's cuss for the struggling artist. You excrement… you whining, hypocritical toadies with your color TV sets and your Tony Jacklin golf clubs…
Touch of Evil is famous for its epic, three-minute-twenty-second unbroken tracking shot, showing the placing of the bomb and its journey over the border. It is groundbreaking, breathtaking filmmaking. The shot has been referenced and parodied countless times in (among others) Brian DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise, Robert Altman’s The Player, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, Barry Sonnenfeld’s Get Shorty, and even an episode of Better Call Saul.
Make yourself a cup of coffee. You can read the entire memo here.
“In Nomine Welles, et Welles, y spiritu Welles, Amen.”