Orson Welles’ TOUCH OF EVIL – 50th Anniversary Edition
Universal Home Entertainment has released an official press release containing some additional details about the features that will be on their two-disc set of TOUCH OF EVIL, due out October 7, 2008.
Charlton Heston on TOUCH OF EVIL:
We finished shooting on TOUCH OF EVIL down on the canals in Venice, California, after we had shot for several nights, all night - the death of Quinlan and all of that, and then we finally finished about six o'clock one morning. So Orson and I went to have scrambled eggs at some coffee shop in Venice, and Orson had a bottle of champagne, and we told each other how wonderful we were, and all of that. I said, "Orson, I must tell you one thing. There are two or three scenes in this picture that you put in really because you knew I was supposed to have the leading role. The story is really about the fall of Captain Quinlan." I said, "But I knew that. You didn't need to put those in." He said, "Then I don't have to worry about it in the editing, do I?"
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Aug. 14 -- Orson Welles' film noir masterpiece celebrates a home entertainment milestone with the release of the "Touch of Evil - 50th Anniversary Edition" DVD on October 7, 2008 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. For the first time on DVD, audiences can experience this cinematic achievement as never before: All three versions of the film including the preview version, the theatrical version and the restored version based on Welles' vision, contained on one two-disc set for $26.98 SRP.
Also, a specially printed reproduction of the complete 58-page memo Welles wrote in 1957 to the studio outlining his recommended edits after viewing the rough cut of the film, is available for the very first time with the DVD set.
Headlined by an all-star cast that includes Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Ray Collins, Dennis Weaver, Akim Tamiroff and Welles along with memorable appearances by Mercedes McCambridge, Zsa Zza Gabor, and Marlene Dietrich, "Touch of Evil" is the dark cinematic portrait of an intricate criminal plot that combines in lurid and fascinating detail, a kidnapping, betrayal, police corruption, drug use and murder. An essential addition to every movie lover's library, the DVD's bonus features with cast, crew and film historians, delve deep into the complicated backstage story of what has become a film that was misunderstood in its day, but is now considered one of Orson Welles' greatest and lasting achievements.
THREE VERSIONS OF THE CLASSIC FILM
The two-disc DVD set will include three versions of the classic film:
* Restored Version: Re-edited in 1998, this definitive cut of the film is restored to Orson Welles' vision based on his detailed 58-page memo to the studio.
* Theatrical Version: This original version of the film was seen by U.S. audiences when it was released in theaters in 1958.
* Preview Version: Created prior to the theatrical version, this cut of the film incorporates some of Orson Welles' requests and was discovered by Universal in 1976.
The original rough cut filmed by Welles in 1957 was re-edited and, in part, re-shot by Universal, to trim down the running time and modify some of the story elements. In late 1957, the director, after viewing that resulting film cut, issued a 58-page memo to the studio's head of production Edward Muhl outlining his recommended changes. However, many of these suggestions were not included in the version eventually released theatrically in early 1958, with additional scenes added by director Harry Keller, who had been hired to direct the re-shot material. It was not until 1976 that Universal discovered a preview version in its vaults that post-dated Welles' memo and included some but not all of the director's changes and still included Keller's scenes. In 1998, the film was re-edited by the esteemed Walter Murch based on Welles' memo, working from all available materials. The Murch version adhered as closely as possible to Welles' instructions including the removal of the credits and music from the film's opening sequences, one of Welles' biggest complaints. It is this version that is referred to above as the restored version.
In addition to the original promotional trailer from the film's theatrical campaign, "Touch of Evil - 50th Anniversary Edition" includes these all-new, behind the scenes bonus features:
* Bringing Evil to Life: This never-before-released "making-of" feature includes interviews with stars Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, crew members and film historians.
* Evil Lost & Found: A never-before-released documentary explaining the various versions of the film and the restoration featuring interviews with cast, crew members and film historians.
* Restored Version Audio Commentary: Featuring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and restoration producer Rick Schmidlin.
* Restored Version Audio Commentary: Featuring restoration producer Rick Schmidlin.
*Theatrical Audio Commentary: Featuring writer and filmmaker F. X. Feeny.
* Preview Version Audio Commentary: Featuring Welles historians Jonathan Rosenbaum and James Naremore.
The story of a strange vengeance that flamed into an international crisis... of a border town trap set by Terror and baited by a "dead man" who would not die!
SUSIE... Now she was awake in another world where Terror grins from the shadows of a border town - and a dead man watches with staring eyes!
VARGAS... her husband - if only she could tell him where she was!
QUINLAN... he called himself a cop, but only she knew the sickening truth!
TANYA... a million sordid secrets in her sin-twisted mind!
MENZIES... he should have been dead years ago - for his own sake, if not for others!
Experience director Orson Welles' masterpiece "Touch of Evil" like never before in an all-new 50th Anniversary Edition DVD! Starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Orson Welles himself, this exceptional film noir portrait of corruption and morally compromised obsessions tells the story of a crooked police chief who frames a Mexican youth as part of an intricate criminal plot. Now for the first time ever, see all three versions of the film - the preview version, the theatrical version and the restored version based on Orson Welles' vision. The "Touch of Evil 50th Anniversary Edition" commemorates a true cinematic achievement and is an essential addition to every movie lover's library!
ORSON WELLES, HESTON, JANET LEIGH SCORE IN TENSE NEW FILM
(from the original 1958 pressbook)
The triple-threat genius of Orson Welles as writer, director and star has never been more excitingly applied than in "Touch of Evil," his Universal-International co-starrer with Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh which opens at the ............ Theater on October 7.
In this gripping tale of action and suspense it is impossible to separate the mastery of Welles' characterization as the crooked cop, who plants evidence on his victims, from his violent and unconventional use of the camera. Orson has surpassed himself in blending thrills, entertainment and the last word in lighting and camera artistry.
Welles is not alone in this brilliant picture when it comes to top achievement. Charlton Heston, who sought so long for a meaty role which would be the opposite of his famous Moses portrayal in "The Ten Commandments," has found it in the part of a hard-hitting special investigator for the Mexican Ministry of Justice. Heston is a tremendous surprise with his black hair, moustache and bronzed face plus a dynamic performance that proves his superlative versatility.
As Heston's wife, Janet Leigh is co-starred in a performance which puts her far above the pretty-face category. Miss Leigh demonstrates in "Touch of Evil" that she is capable of a many-dimensional performance, bringing her a new dramatic importance on the screen.
To say that this film is full of surprises would be putting it mildly. Boasting far more than its share, even for an Orson Welles production, two of Hollywood's most famous glamorous personalities, Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor, will be found playing bit roles in the film. The only fact that is more surprising than there actual appearance is the part each plays; unique and telling, but more shocking if left untold.
Mr. Welles is not one to tread lightly when he puts out a call for an all-star picture. In addition to the Misses Dietrich and Gabor the fans will find Keenan Wynn in a brief appearance.
Russell Metty is the cameraman responsible for the most dramatic mood lighting which has been viewed in a decade. Metty’s cinematography is the “hidden persuader” adding immeasurably to the qualities of drama and suspense of “Touch of Evil.”
CAST AND FILMMAKERS
Directed By: Orson Welles
Written By: Orson Welles (Screenplay), Whit Masterson (Novel)
Produced By Albert Zugsmith
Restored version Produced By Rick Schmidlin
Director of Photography: Russell Metty
Edited By: Aaron Stell, Virgil Vogel
Restored version Edited By Walter Murch
Costume Designer: Bill Thomas
Original Music By: Henry Mancini
Cast: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Akin Tamiroff, Dennis Weaver, Mercedes McCambridge, Ray Collins, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Joseph Cotten.
Street Date: October 7, 2008
Copyright: 2008 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Price: $26.98 SRP
Selection Number: 61103474
Theatrical Version (1 Hour 36 Mins)
Preview Version (1 Hour 49 Mins)
Restored Version (1 Hour 51 Mins)
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85.1)
Rating: PG-13 (Restored version) Unrated (other versions).
Technical Info: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono;
English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles.
Jonathan Rosenbaum talks about the re-edited version of TOUCH OF EVIL: