"Touch of Evil" to be Screened at A&M International Thursday

The film "Touch of Evil," an American film noir crime thriller, will be screened at Texas A&M International University on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. in Bullock Hall, room 101.

The screening is open to the public and free of charge. It is part of a "Manifestations of 'Noir' " Fall Film Series organized by Dr. Sean Chadwell, assistant professor of English, and Dr. William Nichols, assistant professor of Spanish.

"Touch of Evil" (1958) is a black and white American movie, rated PG-13 and directed by the famous Orson Welles. It was one of his first Hollywood films and last American film. It is important to note that the film was edited and cut by Universal Pictures before it was released without Welles' approval.

Dr. Nichols remarked, "Like 'Blade Runner,' the version of "Touch of Evil" we will be showing is a 'director's cut' meaning we the viewers get to see the film as Orson Welles meant it to be seen."

"Touch of Evil," was criticized and very controversial at the time of its release. The film shows some parallelisms with "Psycho" (1960). The different themes such as racism, sexual ambiguity, drugs and police corruption created a disagreement among the society of the 1950's. This in part, led to some scenes being reshot and edited. By 1976, the film had been revised for the fourth time, expanding it from, the 96 minutes, of the first version, to 111 minutes, the duration of the newest version.

One of the main character is Mike Vargas, a Mexican government investigator. He is Mexico's chief narcotics officer, who is in a border town with his American wife on their honeymoon. The action takes place once they suddenly became involved in the crime of a U.S. rich developer after a car bomb explodes and kills him. Hank Quinlan, a corrupt American cop (Orson Welles), is against Vargas and has joined a drug dealer, trying to track and scare Vargas.

Chadwell said that, "Touch of Evil" explores a different aspect of 'noir' from the previous films in the series shown. "The difference is namely that of police corruption. Those people who are supposed to uphold the law end up being the most dangerous criminals. Like in any good 'noir' film the line between good and evil is blurred," Chadwell said.

Drs. Chadwell and Nichols will briefly introduce the film and profile its stylistic and thematic debt to 'noir' before viewing. At the film's conclusion, informal discussion will be held to answer questions and allow audience members to share their comments on the film.

The free film series began in September and continues weekly at 7 p.m. in Bullock Hall, room 101 through Nov. 30. The Series schedule is as follows: October 19 - "L.A. Confidential" (1997); October 26 - "Double Indemnity"; October 31 - "Body Heat" (1981); November 9 - "Rear Window" (1954); November 16 - "Tesis" (1996); and November 30 - "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" (1958).

For additional information on the Fall Film Series, "Manifestations of 'Noir," please contact Dr. Chadwell at 326-2471 or e-mail to schadwell@tamiu.edu or Dr. Nichols at 326-2610 or e-mail to wnichols@tamiu.edu.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu