Film of the Day: TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)

MURDER! DRUGS! RACISM! CORRUPTION!

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*ANOTHER WELLES MASTERPIECE AND ONE OF THE FINEST – AND LAST – OF THE CLASSIC FILM NOIRS*

Starring, and directed by, Orson Welles. Also starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich. Keep an eye out for Joseph Cotten’s cameo…

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“ORSON, YOU LOOK WONDERFUL!”

– An earnest exclamation made by a well-known Hollywood actress at a party Welles attended during the making of Touch of Evil. The actress was unaware that Welles was actually still in make-up, including large amounts of padding and prosthetics.

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Vargas: Captain, you won’t have any trouble with me.

Quinlan: You bet your sweet life I won’t.

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Susan: I could love being corny, if my husband would only cooperate.

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Sanchez: What are you trying to do?

Quinlan: We’re trying to strap you to the electric chair, boy.

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**MARLENE – SOME KIND OF A WOMAN**

by Dixie Turner

New Additions (Old Films We Should Have Had Before, But Didn’t):

RO.GO.PA.G.(Let’s Wash Our Brains):

RO.sselliniGO.dardPA.soliniG.regoretti. Four short films, written and directed by four of the greatest directors of their (or any) generation. The programme, entitled Laviamoci il cervello (Let’s Wash Our Brains) presents a shared dissatisfaction with modernity on the part of the directors and, more specifically, a concern about the impact of various social factors and trends – which they perceived as disturbing or dangerous – on the modern mind and character.

It is worth noting that the film caused a scandal on its released (though not in Britain, as it was not distributed here), for its portrayal of Christ crucified (and the Virgin Mary strip-tease) in the Pasolini segment, La Ricotta. La Ricotta portrays a destitute man who has been enlisted to play Christ by a Marxist film director (played by Orson Welles). The actor, poor and hungry, gives his food rations to his family and continues to starve until, finally, he gets his hands on a large quantity of ricotta on which he gorges himself before finally dying of indigestion on the cross… On the film’s release, Pasolini was arrested and spent four months in jail. Wash your brains on that.

Trailer:

This Post is About Trickery and Fraud…

Orson Welles – born May 6th, 1995

There are many films that blend fact with fiction, blurring the line between art and life until you are no longer certain which is imitating which. Often they are feature films that have a documentary component, or feature non-professional actors playing themselves in a re-telling of their own story (Makhmalbaf’s The Apple and Kiarostami’s Close-Up and 10 spring to mind).

However, rarely does a film-maker tell you straight up that the documentary you’re about to watch intentionally bends the truth, blending fraud with fact.

Directed by, co-written by and starring Orson Welles – in what was his last major film – F for Fake is a creative documentary investigating the ideas underpinning the value of art, as well as ideas of authorship and authenticity.

At the centre of the film is Elmyr de Hory, a notorious art forger who claims to have paintings hanging in famous galleries all over the world, attributed to some of the most famous artists – Picasso, Matisse etc. The film also features Clifford Irving who, unknown to Welles at the start of shooting, had perpetrated a hoax of his own, namely by writing a fabricated  ‘authorized biography’ of the reclusive film/aviation mogul, Howard Hughes (see the film The Hoax). Welles, who had a long-time appreciation for magic and illusions, performs continual sleights of hand throughout the film – including magic tricks of his own, drumming home the point that, here, nothing is as it seems and that, sometimes, believing our eyes is a sure way to deception.

F for Fake (1793)

Other Birthday Boy Classics:

The Third Man (1949)

Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Citizen Kane (1941)

Touch of Evil (1958)

Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Chimes at Midnight (1965)

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