Cast and Crew: Henry Mancini (Score); Akim Tamiroff, Ray Collins, Dennis Weaver, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Joseph Cotton, Mercedes McCambridge, Keenan Wynn
What It’s About: Mike and Susie Vargas (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh) find their honeymoon on the US-Mexico border interrupted by an assassination. “Mike” is Ramon Miguel Vargas, a Mexican Narcotics Officer, and soon he’s involved in the investigation and butting heads with his U.S. counterpart, Police Captain Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), memorably described by his old flame, fortune-teller Tanya (Marlene Dietrich), as a man whose future is “all used up.”
Why Watch it Today?: Marlene Dietrich was born 113 years ago today. Her role in Touch of Evil barely qualifies as an extended cameo, but contains more memorable moments than most actors get in an entire movie. Touch of Evil was writer and director Orson Welles’s last Hollywood picture. It is also one of the few films he directed that exists in a version approximating his intentions, thanks to a memo star Charlton Heston saved in which Welles laid out the elements he wanted restored after major studio cuts. Touch of Evil is one of Welles’ best films, and one of the best Film Noir films.