“Touch of Evil” – Opening Crane Shot

July 21, 2011

If you’ve never seen this late noir classic directed by Orson Welles, you’ve got a real treat in store. This post was inspired by a site that recently claimed to compile the 100 best scenes in American cinema.

Of course, anything like that is wildly subjective and open to serious debate. Let’s just say that my own list does not include Tom Cruise shouting, “Show me the money” or Sharon Stone’s crotch shot from Basic Instinct.

But one sequence on this list that would be not only in my personal top 100, but my personal top 5, too, is the opening of Touch of Evil. It’s brilliant technique and great visual storytelling. It’s the kind of thing that can only be done in film. And it’s one of the reasons true film geeks will always revere Welles.

Touch of Evil was edited without Welles’ consent priot to it’s original 1958 theatrical release. He wrote Universal a 58 page memo to correct these unwanted changes. In 1998 a ‘restored’ version was released that attempted to follow Welles’ memo. The opening sequence (above) had the film’s title’s removed and the original soundtrack restored, integral to being able to follow the movement of the car with the bomb.


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