PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.
Premiered as the second half of a double bill (hence its 'B' movie status) after main feature The Female Animal (1958) directed by Harry Keller, the same director hired to re-shoot parts of the film after Orson Welles was fired.
Uh, you folks American citizens?
At the beginning of the famous opening long shot, at the point where the bomb is planted in the trunk of the car, the reflection of a crew member is briefly seen in the upper left hand corner of the screen.
Opening statement (restored version): In 1957, Orson Welles completed principal photography on TOUCH OF EVIL and edited the first cut. Upon screening the film, the Studio felt it could be improved, shot additional scenes and re-edited it. Welles viewed this new version and within hours wrote a passionate 58-page memo requesting editorial changes. This version represents an attempt to honor those requests and make TOUCH OF EVIL the film Orson Welles envisioned it to be. "... I close this memo with a very earnest plea that you consent to this brief visual pattern to which I gave so many long hard days of work." -- Orson Welles
The 1998 restoration is often called the "Director's Cut," which it is not. Welles original cut was done immediately after filming was completed. This cut no longer exists. Universal then cut the film and when shown THIS version, Welles composed his 57-page memo. So the 98 cut was restored to Orson's intentions, but there is no way of knowning if this would have been his Director's cut. Also, see aspect ratio argument in Trivia section.
$70,725 (USA) (13 September 1998)
$2,237,659 (USA) (3 January 1999)