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October 12, 1998 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

i

ionference on Organ Music
dd Fair performs tonight. The carillonist will strut his talent as
rt of the Annual Conference on Organ Music. The performance
11 be at the Burton Memorial Tower, and will be held outside.
]mission is free, and it all gets started at 7:30 p.m. You'll need
.hair or blanket on which to sit.

f1re icdfjm Dai
L I

Tomorrow in Daily Arts:
It's Breaking Records time again folks so check out
reviews of the music industry's latest CD releases. Tomorrow
Daily Arts reviews the latest CDs from Cat Power, Sepultura
and Depeche Mode.
Monday
October 12,1998

IA

.1.

RETOUCHING 'EVIL'

I

Welles' visi
impressive'
By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Writer
"What does it matter what you say about peo-
ple?" asks Marlene Dietrich's sultry madam
Tanna in the final scene of "Touch of Evil."
What is said matters very little, unless, of
course, the dead have major objections to what
you are saying.
And for the 40th anniversary of "Touch of
Evil," the objections of Orson Welles are finally
recognized from beyond the grave in a new re-
edited version of the film that is, in spirit, Welles'
original vision.
Much has been made of the recently exhumed
58-page memo in which Welles definitively
detailed what his vision of the film should look
like - definitely not the already ingenious film
noir that was restructured and partially re-shot
before its release by Universal in '58.
The '98 "Touch of Evil" lives up to that hype
with a newfound purity and brilliance that is a
significant improvement upon the original.
Significant, that is, for the major undertaking
by editor Walter Murch, Oscar-blessed for "The
English Patient." In restoring the film's stunning,
flowing opening crane shot, he eliminated the
pesky interruption of credits
and Henry Mancini's perco-
lating score. He quickened
the film's pace and straight-
Touch of ening out its time structure
Evil through the reshuffling of
many scenes.
Not noticeable, in that the
At Michigan reshuffling is so seamless and
engaging that one can hardly
tell what's been changed
without seeing the two ver-
sions side by side.
The most notable and wel-
come change in the spruced-
up "Evil" is the excising of
scenes involving Zsa Zsa
Gabor, now just a glorified cameo.
Billed as a "Guest Star," Gabor's lifeless scenes
as the proprietor of a seedy strip joint, injected by
the studio, were a rather large stumbling block in
the original.
Common among the past and present films is
the intriguing story of upstanding Mexican diplo-
mat Mike Vargas (a rather convincingly Latin
Charlton Heston) as he matches wits with corrupt
and rotund detective Hank Quinlan (Welles him-
self, largely shot imposingly from below) in a
byzantine case of murder in an unnamed border
town.
With the re-edits, the film is cleaner, crisper,
easier to understand but just as sleazy and shad-
owy as before. It does, however, give the equally

on deepens
TOUch'

'Evil' touched by genius

Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Janet Leigh and Chariton Heston get touched by the
evil genius of Orson Welles in "Touch of Evil," now
playing at the Michigan Theater.
convoluted sub-plots and supporting characters
time to shine.
Populating the economically and racially tense
Tex-Mex tapestry are comically menacing under-
world boss Grandi (Akim Tamiroff) who desper-
ately wants to bring down Vargas, Quinlan's
unashamedly loyal partner Menzies (Joseph
Calleia) who'll do anything but see the truth and
Marlene Dietrich's matter-of-fact madam Tanna
who memorably tells Quinlan to "lay off the
candy bars."
Perhaps the most prominent change with the
new editing is the immediacy and sexual intimi-
dation granted the sub-plot involving Janet
Leigh's unfaltering Susie Vargas, the splendid
portrayal of a new bride determined to have a
happy honeymoon even as she's terrorized in a
creepy roadside motel, an eerie precursor to
Leigh's "Psycho" misadventures as Marion Crane
two years later.
But the most eerily prescient aspect of the film
is the physical appearance of Welles. With the
help of body padding, Welles' zaftig Quinlan
foreshadows the weight that will eventually befall
Welles and works well in the context of the film
as a symbol of all that's weighing on Quinlan's
conscience - if he has one at all.
"Touch of Evil" was, after all, based on a pulp
novel called "Badge of Evil," which also was
Welles' intended title of the film, making the tale
unmistakably Quinlan's - a nihilistic and unset-
tling portrait of a man's unraveling, bringing
down both those who love and hate him or even
those who merely thought him "some kind of a
man," as the sublime Dietrich did.
If Universal's original "Touch of Evil" were
already some kind of a film in its own right, then
the new Welles-retouched "Evil" is a one-of-a-
kind masterpiece that'll make Welles' cinematic
legacy matter even more.

By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Arts Writer
This past summer, the American
Film Institute released its top 100
American films of the 20th Century.
Topping the list was Orson Welles'
"Citizen Kane." Some critics
expressed great surprise at this, feel-
ing that more popular choices such as
"Gone with the Wind" or "The
Wizard of Oz" might overtake
Welles' epic. The great surprise,
however, is not that "Citizen Kane"
finished at No. 1, but that no other
Orson Welles film landed in the top
100.
With the reedit of "Touch of Evil,"
Welles' last Hollywood film,
America's greatest director might get
a second look from some critics and
his first look from some movie fans.
Welles had the misfortune of start-
ing his career at the top although
"Citizen Kane" was a financial flop
and mostly ignored when it was
released. The film school brats of the
late '60s and '70s helped to resurrect
it by acknowledging how remarkable
an influence "Citizen Kane" and
Orson Welles had on them.
Filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese
and Peter Bogdonovitch helped to
elevate "Citizen Kane" into the pan-
theon of great films.
After "Citizen Kane," Welles had
nowhere to go but down. In fact,
most people could not name another
film Welles directed.
So, despite the fact that Welles
directed other great films such as
"Othello," "Lady from Shanghai"
and "The Trial," most people can't
distinguish him from "Citizen Kane,"
which is a shame, because Welles had
a very rich career after his stellar
debut.
Then in "Touch of Evil," when
Dietrich tells Welles' Hank Quinlan,
"Your future's all used up," she
couldn't be further from the truth.
Death has been good for Welles'
career; Welles now adds two other,
even if lesser-known, masterpieces,
"Touch of Evil" and "Chimes at
Midnight," to his revered "Citizen
Kane."
When Welles first edited "Touch
of Evil," the studio bosses took the
film away from him and recut it to
their specifications. This was not the
first time Welles had lost a movie, for
parts of "The Magnificent
Ambersons" were reshot by "West
Side Story" director Robert Wise.
This time, however, Welles left
behind a 58-page memo, in which he
told Universal Studios bosses how

Courtesy of Castle Hill Productions
Orson Welles, shown here directing "Othello," has taken "many bullets" for lis
work.

they could improve their cut by
restoring it to his vision.
The most amazing part of this
memo is that Welles only saw the
movie once. After that single view-
ing, he left specific instructions
about how to "save" "Touch of Evil."
Not surprisingly, Welles was right,
and the studio brass was wrong.
Gone from "Touch of Evil" are the
credits over the three-minute, 20-sec-
ond tracking shot, which locates the
car bomb that sets the film into
action. Now, the stories of Mike
Vargas (Charlton Heston) and Susan
Vargas (Janet Leigh), the newlywed
couple at the center of "Touch of
Evil," are intertwined rather than
kept as separate entities. Many more
changes have taken place, but these
are the two most noticeable.
Nevertheless, "Touch of Evil" still
retains its complex thematic content.
It is a film about borders - when to
cross them and when not to. The film
explores the boundaries between
good and evil, honest and dishonest,
good cop and bad cop. These are not
simple issues in the context of
"Touch of Evil," rather the film leads
audiences on a journey into the heart
of human nature; it begs the question
of the viewers' morality.
Welles' Captain Quinlan is a cop
who is bent, but not broken. Welles
often framed himself against arches
and curved surfaces to demonstrate
this, leaving the audience wondering
just how far Quinlan would go to
solve a case and put a man in jail.
Quinlan plants evidence and abuses

suspects, yet remains firm in his
belief he is doing the right thing.
Quinlan's foil is Mexican drug cop'
Vargas, who, as Welles' camera tells
us by shooting him against pillars
and upright objects, is a straight and
narrow cop and husband. He dotests
Quinlan's methods and he detests
Quinlan. In turn, Quinlan detests
Vargas.
The movie tracks Quinlan as he
crosses the border between good and
evil and joins the drug dealers Vargas
has sworn to catch to kidnap Susan
Vargas.
It's not surprising that Welle5' ver-
sion of "Touch of Evil" is so good,
but that the studio's cut is also fantas-
tic. Though American critics
maligned "Touch of Evil" when it
appeared in 1958, European critics
loved it. Subsequently, the film has
gained a large cult following. "Touch
of Evil" should now enjoy a much
more mainstream success: the
Welles' reedit proves it is one of the
best films ever made.
Orson Welles died a broken man
- he had to go to Europe to get
financing, then had to finance his
pictures and finally he eaded up
with nothing. So, when Welles says
in "Touch of Evil," "That's the sec-
ond bullet I stopped for you," it's
prophetic. The first was "Citizen
Kane" and the second "Touch of
Evil." Welles should not have to stop
anymore bullets. Rather, film schol-
ars, film critics and filmgoers
should embrace his genims and his
labors of love.

i

11

0

qw

Audience follows 'Way'

of Kravitz

Yale Divinity School
at Michigan
Guy V. Martin, Associate Dean of Admissions
for Yale Divinity School
will be available to answer questions
regarding YDS
Wednesday, October 14, 1998
9:00 ~11:00 am
Conference Room 4, Michigan League

By Ryan Malkin
Daily Arts Staff
"Are you drinking?" the bouncers out-
side the State Theater in Detroit asked
Friday night. Many anxious Lenny
Kravitz fans chose the "under 21" line to
avoid the wait of checking IDs, but their
rush was unnecessary because Sean
Lennon's performance was definitely
worth missing.
Despite that it was his 23rd birthday,
Lennon put on a near awful show. The
best part of his set was the ball, placed
above one of the speakers, that changed
colors every so often. Aside from that,
Lennon's performance was high pitched
and excessively loud. His solos seemed
planned, he tried to rap and he was com-
pletely incoherent. The sounds blasting
through the 20 or so speakers sounded as
clear as the PA system in an elementary

school gym.
While the beer flowed and the crowd4
became more anxicqus, the crowd's
"Lenny" chants alirost over thre
Lennon's droning. When Lennon's 45-
minute set finally carne to a close and
the audience began to cheer louder than

L.enny
Kravitz
The Palace
Oct. 9, 1998
I

ever.
Despite having
the flu, Kravitz
thrilled the audi-
ence from start to
finish. Althougl>
he did not come
on stage until lIQ
p.m., it was wort
the pain of sittin,
through Lennogn
set. Kravitz's bard
began by playing
Z e p p e 1 i ns

JESSICA JOHNSON/Daily
Lenny Kravitz made his audience "Believe" in his music Friday at the State.

t _

"Whole Lotta;
Love." The back
lighting made the drummer and guitarist,
seem almost God-hike. Thenin the midst;
of the lights and rhythm, Kravitz entered
in a purple '60s style purple jean sui*
The 30 lights flash ed sporadically creat-
ing a star-like gperience each time
Kravitz raised h* arm to the beat. He'
immediately got the crowd clapping in
unison.
Kravitz put down the shiny silver bas'
guitar in exchange for a six string:

, , , . . , . ... ., .. .. ..... ,, r, .v. .... . , ..

._

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