Friday, September 14, 2012

One Long Look...Touch of Evil [1958]

In one of the final interviews given before his death, Orson Welles stated, "I started at the top and worked down."  Part of that is true.  Welles could never match the success f he had with Citizen Kane, directing the masterpiece at only 25 years young.  Having a long and substnaitla directing career after Kane, Welles ' films were always met with cuts and re-edits by overarching producers and the success that came  seemed always second-rate.  Nowadays, Welles is considered one of the greatest directors of all time.  His intricate and innovative style filled with marvelous crane shots lends him the title of Hollywood auteur.

Second to Citizen Kane is Welles' 1958 crime thriller Touch of Evil in which we find one of the most famous shots in the history of film.  Touch of Evil opens with a marvelous three minute tracking shot that creates suspense that no other single take has ever matched.  Starting with an extreme close up of a bomb, the camera swoops up and about the city streets amongst the passing cars and pedestrians caught up in the glittering nightlife of this small border town.  The camera follows the fateful couple in the loaded car while introducing our leading man and his wife, all in one shot.  Welles took up an extraordinary task with this one shot alone, the result affirming his legacy beyond Citizen Kane as one of the great American directors of film.



  1. this is one of my most favorite scenes ever. the best tracking shot ever, no doubt.

  2. I would agree with you on that one- its probably the best tracking shot ever in the movies. Its probably one of my favorite scenes too.