Touch of Evil

Directed by Orson Welles, 1958

Written by Orson Welles


In what ways does this film bear the authorial mark of Orson Welles? What elements of visual style, use of space and time, theme, acting, and treatment of character link it to Citizen Kane? In what ways is it different from Kane?

Pay special attention to Welles' use of long, uninterrupted takes with a moblie camera in this film. What scenes or sequences stand out in this manner? How do they differ in structure and effect form what they would be if edited ina more traditional manner? How do they compare to other scenes or sequences in the film, in which Welles makes heavy use of cutting?

Think more generally about the sorts of spaces depicted in this film: the town at night, the desert by day, the different sorts of rooms the characters find themselves in, the constant presence of the border. How does Welles use decor and setting to add to the meanings of the film?

Where do our sympathies lie in this film? How do we regard Welles's character, Hank Quinlan? What kind of judgements does the film invite us to make?