It is typical of Orson Welles that he takes a B-movie thriller set on the Mexican border and gives it a Shakespearian grandeur.
Welles himself plays the overweight and crooked cop Hank Quinlan as a Falstaffian figure, wringing out the pathos from a character who is sleazy and corrupt, even if he does have an uncanny ability to sniff out the criminals.
Marlene Dietrich gives him one of the great send-offs in movie history. On a formal level, the film has its share of fireworks, too. Anyone who has ever done a film studies course is likely to have come across its celebrated opening scene – a mini-epic lasting several minutes without a cut in which a bomb is placed in the boot of a car we then see driving down noisy night-time streets.
This is a newly remastered version of the 1998 restoration of the film which, like many of Welles’ movies, had a very chequered post-production history. It was re-edited behind his back and only put back together in something like the form he intended several years after he died.
Orson Welles, 110 mins Starring: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson WellesReuse content