Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mag #123 Touch of Evil, 1958



  1. Cast
  • Charlton Heston – Ramon Miguel Vargas
  • Janet Leigh – Susan Vargas
  • Orson Welles – Hank Quinlan
  • Joseph Calleia – Pete Menzies
  • Akim Tamiroff – Uncle Joe Grandi
  • Joanna Cook Moore – Marcia Linnekar
  • Ray Collins – District Attorney Adair
  • Dennis Weaver – Night Manager
  • Val de Vargas – Pancho
  • Mort Mills – Al Schwartz
  • Victor Millan – Manolo Sanchez
  • Lalo Rios – Risto
  • Phil Harvey – Blaine
  • Joi Lansing – Blonde
  • Harry Shannon – Gould
  • Rusty Wescoatt – Casey
  • Wayne Taylor – Gang Member
  • Ken Miller – Gang Member
  • Raymond Rodriguez – Gang Member
  • Arlene McQuade – Ginnie
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor – Strip-club owner
  • Marlene Dietrich – Tana
  • Mercedes McCambridge – Hoodlum
  • Keenan Wynn – Man
  • Joseph Cotten – DetectivePlotThe film opens with a three-minute, twenty-second tracking shot widely considered by critics[2] as one of the greatest long takes in cinematic history. On the U.S.-Mexico border, a man plants a time bomb in a car. A man and woman enter the vehicle and make a slow journey through town to the U.S. border. Newlyweds Miguel "Mike" Vargas (Charlton Heston) and Susie (Janet Leigh) pass the car several times on foot. The car crosses the border, then explodes, killing the occupants.

    Janet Leigh and Charlton Heston
    Miguel Vargas is a drug enforcement official in the Mexican government. Realizing the implications of a Mexican bomb exploding on American soil, he takes an interest in the investigation. Police Chief Pete Gould (Harry Shannon) and District Attorney Adair (Ray Collins) arrive on the scene, followed by police Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) and Quinlan's longtime partner, Pete Menzies (Joseph Calleia).
    Quinlan and Menzies' prime suspect is Sanchez, a young Mexican secretly married to the victim's daughter. They interrogate him in his apartment with Vargas present. Vargas visits the bathroom and accidentally knocks over an empty shoebox. Moments later, Menzies announces that two sticks of dynamite were found in the shoebox in the bathroom. Vargas suspects Quinlan may have been planting evidence for years to help win convictions. Quinlan dismisses Vargas' claim saying he is just biased in favor of fellow Mexicans. With assistance from District Attorney's Assistant Al Schwartz (Mort Mills), Vargas studies the public records on Quinlan's previous cases, revealing his findings to Gould and Adiar. Quinlan arrives on the scene in time to overhear the discussion and angrily threatens to resign.
    Susie moved from her Mexican hotel to an American motel to escape the unwanted attention of Grandi (Akim Tamiroff), brother of a man Vargas has been investigating. She finds the motel, which Menzies recommended to her, has no other guests and is staffed only by a mentally challenged night manager (Dennis Weaver). Grandi family members take over the motel. Vargas becomes concerned when his attempts to telephone Susie at the motel are sabotaged. Quinlan conspires with Grandi; they arrange for Susie to be kidnapped by the gang, injected with drugs, and taken to Grandi’s other motel in town. There, Quinlan strangles Grandi and frames Susie for the murder in order to discredit Vargas.
    Vargas confronts Menzies about the history of evidence "discovered" by Menzies or Quinlan. Menzies dismisses the claim. Vargas goes to Susie's motel but discovers her - and the gun he left with her - missing. Learning the motel is owned by Grandi, Vargas travels to Grandi's other motel in search of Susie, and confronts the gang members who attacked her; when the gang members refuse to answer him, Vargas violently beats them down. Al informs Vargas that Susie has been arrested for murder; at the lockup Vargas finds her barely conscious. Menzies reveals to Vargas he discovered Quinlan's cane at the murder scene. Vargas fits Menzies with a wire. Menzies confronts Quinlan at an oil refinery and they discuss Quinlan's activities while being tracked on foot by Vargas recording the conversation.
    Quinlan states to Menzies that he planted evidence on people, but they were nevertheless "guilty, guilty". Quinlan hears the feedback; Quinlan says his "game leg" informs him of Menzies' wire. Quinlan demands Vargas show himself; when he does, Quinlan shoots Menzies with Vargas' gun. Quinlan prepares to shoot Vargas, but is shot by the dying Menzies. It is revealed Sanchez has confessed and really did commit the crime. Vargas leaves town with Susie.