Sunday, May 11, 2014

A TOUCH OF ORSON: VENICE BEACH AS BORDER TOWN

Orson Welles prepares a crucial scene in "Touch of Evil"
Downtown L.A.'s refurbished Million Dollar Theater recently screened the Orson Welles' classic dark tale of corruption and murder, "Touch of Evil." The film, originally released in 1958, was recut and partly re-dubbed due to studio meddling. The current version in circulation these days is largely restored to the version that Welles intended thanks to a 40-plus page memo Welles sent the producers protesting the changes they made to the film.
Film historians consider "Touch of Evil" as the last film of the classic noir era, which began with "The Maltese Falcon" in 1941.
"Touch of Evil" is set in a Mexican border town, but Venice Beach, with it's Spanish style colonnades, stood in for a jerkwater berg overlooking our neighbor to the south.
Welles co-wrote the script, directed and co-starred along with Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich. Also, playing supporting roles are Zsa Zsa Gabor and Dennis Weaver.
Below, a video about "Touch of Evil" restoration:



See the photo at top, and note how the crane shot is used in a clip from the film's opening:

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