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Orson Welles's 1958 "Touch of Evil" is considered the last film noir of the classic period. Clute and Edwards investigate why it deserves this designation, arguing that it uses the conventions of noir in such a self-conscious manner that henceforth it will be impossible to tell a straight noir tale. Indeed the film is so self-conscious that it is no more a narrative than it is a demonstration of how to create film narrative. It is considered a great film for this reason, but also because it features myriad strong acting turns, stages Welles's dramatic demise as a Hollywood player, and contains story and character seeds that will come to fruition in films as different as "Psycho" and "Miller's Crossing." This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
Direct download: OOTP_2007_01_01_TOE.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 4:47 AM
Comments[8]

  • TaylorMade R9 460 DriverTaylorMade R9 460 Driver TaylorMade 09 Burner DriverTaylorMade 09 Burner Driver TaylorMade 09 Burner Plus DriverTaylorMade 09 Burner Plus Driver

    posted by: discoung golf clubs on 2010-08-18 03:46:08

  • Ok first let me say I think all of your podcasts are rich in analysis and show a real understanding of the language of film and film noir. I will be posting some very positive reviews and hopefully add some new ideas to some of you other episodes. But what happened here. You are reading so much into this film and Orson Welle\\\'s motives behind camera shots, props, and lot\\\'s more. At some point you have to the think the director was trying to make a tightly woven film that would keep people on the edge of their seats in much the way that Hitchcock did. I really can\\\'t see Orson Welles genius that he was saying that prop on the wall represents me as a director. And this shot or sequence is my rebuttal to film noir. If anything I think he was trying to make an engrossing film that carried the characters in his movie forward and make the action and drama more memorable. As much as we would like to think of the great directors as sending us a hidden message or subtext in every scene I think it\\\'s really more about them trying to make a great film for entertainment value and the ability to make their next film. Also I don\\\'t really think Orson would be able to predict that this was his last \\\"Hollywood\\\" film and thereby encoded messages to the audience signaling his goodbye to Hollywood. Again you guys made some great points in this podcast and all the others (I\\\'ve listened to them all!) but I think your reading way too much into every nuance of this film. This was not a film laced with messages from Orson Welles to the audience or the film world. This was Orson being Orson creating an interesting, dynamic, and very creative work of art using film as the medium to manipulate our emotions and make a great thriller of a movie. But hey, if you see that subtext in his film more power to you! Best, Dell

    posted by: Dell Wilberg on 2007-10-18 11:58:00

  • I\\\'ve been waiting for this one for a long time! It was very good and much appreciated. Still, I can\\\'t help but feel like it could have gone for an hour and still been completely engaging. Have you guys ever thought of recording a \\\'commentary track\\\' podcast, where you talk through a film together and the home user can play it on their ipod or whatever while watching along? It seems Touch of Evil, Out of the Past or Blade Runner would be a prime candidate for this kind of treatment. Just a suggestion. Thanks as always for doing this podcast, I never miss it.

    posted by: bord on 2007-01-10 12:22:00

  • I think a commentary track is a pretty good idea. May restrict the flow of the discussion, though. I guess it would have to follow more specific paths. I really enjoyed this cast - especially the notion that the construction of the trap they set for Quinlan is like some sort of subversive film they are making within/beneath the surface of this one. Have you considered an episode on noir\'s influence on television shows?

    posted by: Paolo on 2007-01-22 16:16:00

  • Hello Paolo: This is not the first request we\'ve had for a discussion of noir\'s influence on television. I don\'t know if we\'ll be able to dedicate a full episode to the subject any time in the near future, because there are so many great films to discuss. However, we give the topic a good amount of time in the episode on HE WALKED BY NIGHT. We appreciate all the input you\'ve given us.

    posted by: Shannon Clute on 2007-01-23 12:40:00

  • One thing I never quite understood. Why was that guy blown up?

    posted by: dSmith on 2007-01-03 21:58:00

  • The explosion that occurs right after the long tracking shot that opens \"Touch of Evil\" kills Rudi Linnekar, an American businessman, and his female companion. While it feels connected in spirit to the upcoming Grandi drug case that is being prosecuted by Vargas (Charleton Heston) and literally starts the film with a \'bang,\' it actually is part of a secondary subplot involving a family/romantic melodrama. Linnekar\'s daughter, Marcia (Joanna Moore), is co-habitating with a Mexican shoe clerk, Manelo Sanchez (Victor Millan). Quinlan (Orson Welles) has one of his famous \'intuitions\' that Sanchez blew up Marcia\'s father in connection with his love affair with Marcia Linnekar, so that is why Quinlan plants the dynamite at the apartment shared by Sachez/Linnekar. We don\'t know the truth about Quinlan\'s \'intuition\' until after Quinlan is shot, and the officer who has been working with Quinlan notifies Vargas that Sanchez confessed to the murder, so Hank Quinlan, while breaking the law in planting false evidence, was right about Sanchez as the bomber. While we never fully learn Sanchez\'s motive in planting the bomb, the dialogue in the scene where Quinlan plants the dynamite in the apartment suggests the tensions and prejudices revolving around an interracial relationship in the 1950s.

    posted by: Richard Edwards on 2007-01-04 00:54:00

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