Movie Fact #13 - August 30th, 2020

 

The 1958 film noir Touch of Evil is now considered a masterpiece in the genre and it's influence on films after it are very clear. Director Curtis Hanson, for example, said 1997 Oscar-winning film L.A. Confidential was influenced by it. This is all lent to the impeccable direction and vision of Orson Welles. The funny thing is that Welles was originally only hired to act in the film (For which he played Police Captain Hank Quinlan). How he became the director was due to a misunderstanding by lead actor Charlton Heston (Who played Ramon Miguel Vargas). He signed on under the assumption that Welles was to be at the helm and, to keep Heston happy, producer Albert Zugsmith allowed Welles to direct. With that, Welles took control with vigor, making major changes to the already-completed script, including changing Heston's character from a white district attorney to a Mexican narcotics agent, changing Janet Leigh's character from Mexican to American, and changing the setting of the movie from a small California town to a Mexican-American border town. In addition, Welles marked it as his favorite film to work on because it featured some of his favorite actors and he had no studio interference during production. And while the studio did re-edit his film, when Welles vision was restored in 1998, it was hailed as a masterpiece. Stay tuned!

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