By William Benker
Touch of Evil – 1958 – dir. Orson Welles
A film’s ability to remain timeless nearly fifty years after its release constitutes a work of brilliance that only few films possess. Specifically, in relation to recent political wars of immigration and borders, Touch of Evil divides a fine line between crime and innocence. Orson Welles’ Hank Quinlan, at first sight, appears unbreakable – entirely devoid of any sort of empathy, as he strolls onto the screen, off balance from an old wound he obtained defending his friend. But as the classic noir unwinds, the director himself reveals a moral conundrum any and all face when questioned by the notion of “authority.” The overarching theme is never once mentioned, but left to the elaborate set design that the story encompasses within itself. Touch of Evil is a noir that still casts a luminescent shadow on issues that are far from outdated, signifying Welles’ keen insight into the issues of both past and present America.