Friday, May 9, 2008

Dr. HAckenbush Opines

From his high perch in some dark and cluttered New England bachelor pad, wizened Culture Vulture Jim Celenza weighs in on dead man Charlton Heston and one of our fave transcedent pieces of time, Orson Welles' 1958 Touch of Evil.

redemptive qualities: the pope ol chuck heston has also played a redemptive role.
the ironjawed gun totting weirdo (Heston, not the pope) was a prime savior in bringing to
life Orson Welles' classic, Touch Of Evil.
It was only after Heston signed on to that project and pressed studios
for financing that Welles' film got made.
(Welles was a vivid master of ambition wedded to self destructive behavior.)
Touch of Evil? Thats one with the iconic tracking shot accompanying by the pulsing mancini score. Thats the one with the M Dietrich's last
line of dialogue -what does it matter what you say about people?

Really. And even though there
is a swarmy cartoonist quality to the whole bordertown
shebang, there is nothing quite as evil as the huge bloated Capt Quinlan hovering
like an oil derrick in the suspect's hotel room or
squeezed into a tiny hotel elevator threatening to quit or
when he strangles Akin Tamiroff (eyes bulging like a lizard's) in the squalid hotel room.
Because of Wells' inflammatory obsession with the shading and shape and movement within a
scene or even within a single camera frame, he approached a haunting painterly neorealistic surrealism. Maybe it should be termed irrealism?

To me the long smoothly evocative sequence as lawman Heston scuttles like a wet rat
through an operating oil derrick to record, with a periodic malfunctioning recorder, the bloated man's alcoholic confession is an apt and principled assessment of what it means to make a movie, or any art thing...nes pa?
Touch of Evil was also Touch of Genius; and Heston deserves some credit for that.

Dr HAckenbush

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