Day 104: Touch of Evil - restored version (June,21)

A weekend of incredible filmmaker, that was. 

I've studied Touch of Evil, by Orson Welles, in a history of cinema class almost 8 years ago. The teacher, course, showed us the famous first scene, a single tracking shot sequence. It is remarkable filmmaking, and it looked like an outstanding movie.

And it was, in many aspects, except the storytelling - an important part of a film for me. Poorly choices on casting (and I'm talking about Charlston Helston and Marlene Dietrich here), a heavy hand in direction, a confusing narrative... I know I'm against the grain here. François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Goddard had high praises for this movie. Everyone has, actually. But I couldn't relate to it beyond its amazing cinematography. The takes are insanely good, so beautifully orchestrated, specially if we consider the time it was created - a true Welles work. But the rest don't follow through as I think it should.

I love noir stories, but this one was over dramatic for me. The irony, the elegant scenes, the subtle story is absent here. There's an ongoing sense of something terribly wrong during the whole movie, and I couldn't get rid of it.

This movie also has a controversial history. Welles was fired at the post-production. New scenes were filmed, the final edit had nothing to do to Welles vision. So, the director wrote a manifesto to Universal in order to maintain his view, what didn't happened. The version that I've seen today begins with some words in the screen, explaining that this remastered copy is an attempt to keep Welles's view.

I'm really not sure about it, though. A sense of discomfort was present all the time. I guess it was too ambitious, actually. It was not for me. But, at the same time, I think that if a filmmaker like Welles could not dare to be ambitious, who else would be?

The time of this scene is so good.
Touch of Evil. Directed and written by Orson Welles, from the book  Badge of
, by Whit Marterson. With: Chalston Helston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles.
US, 1958 (1998), 150 min., Mono, Black and White (DVD).

PS: Just to let you know: I'm about 30 min. from the new season's premiere of True Detective. We get the world we deserve...

PPS: Fragment: True Detective, season 2, episode 1; La Belle et la Bête, 2014. 

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