Touch of Evil: Get the released DVD or wait for a new edition?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jing_B, May 9, 2005.

  1. Jing_B

    Jing_B Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am planning to buy Touch of Evil but had been reading bad reviews about how the disc was when Universal released it with no commentary and documentary whatsoever. Does anyone know if Universal plans to re-release Orson Welles's classic masterpiece along with other classic film noirs sometime in the future? If not then is the DVD that we have now worth buying? Please give suggestions!!!
     
  2. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey Nelson
    I want the original theatrical cut. If that's released on DVD, I'll buy it in a heartbeat. They should re-release it with both versions and a ton of other extras.
     
  3. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    There was an excellent documentary made about the film that was shown on BBC2 here in Britain that was going to be part of the current DVD, but it was pulled at the last minute, for reasons unknown to my brain.

    It's an amazing film; the last true Film Noir and one of Welles' best. A perfect candidate for a film to license to Criterion: New hi-def transfers of both versions; the documentary; commentary by, for example, Jonathan Rosenbaum; the obligatory Bogdanovich intro and voila, the definitive edition of a striking film.

    Hopefully, we will see a multi-disc set of Welles', Confidential Report/Mr Arkadin very soon. The rumours are strong and word is, that it will include the three most famous versions, all restored to as high a standard as possible from the best film elements. It's hard to say if any attempt will be made to improve the sync pf the infamous soundtrack(s). Copious extras will be needed to explain the many facets of this remarkable film. Again Jonathan Rosenbaum would be a great choice for commentary.
     
  4. RichardCrowther

    RichardCrowther Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    0


    If true, sounds like it could be another missed opportunity.[​IMG]
     
  5. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,555
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    I agree that Touch of Evil would be a natural Criterion 2-disc release. Both cuts (remastered, whatever OAR 1.33:1 or 1.85:1?), commentaries, the making-of, trailer, and whatever else they can get their hands on.

    It would be neat if it happened, they'd include a miniature reproduction of the Welles memo.
     
  6. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2000
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    0
    Touch of Evil was prepped for 1.33:1? [​IMG]
     
  7. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 1999
    Messages:
    3,430
    Likes Received:
    973
    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese
    I don't believe so - Universal was shooting 1.85 as standard non-scope ratio as far back as 1953-54.

    I ran the new 35mm print of Touch of Evil in 1.85 a few weeks ago and it looks correct at that ratio. When I ran a reel of it at 1.37 (just to see how it looked), there was too much dead space top & bottom.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,555
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    I thought it was mentioned elsewhere that Welles shot it for Academy, but it was subsequently shown matted to 1.85:1?
     
  9. JayHM

    JayHM Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe the reason the Touch of Evil documentary wasn't on the DVD is because Welles' daughter threatened a lawsuit. Does anyone know more?
     
  10. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 1999
    Messages:
    3,430
    Likes Received:
    973
    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese
    It didn't look that way to me when I screened the print and I can't imagine that Universal would have made an exception to their normal widescreen policy.

    Love your sig quote, Patrick. "I take direction from one person. Under protest!"
     
  11. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,530
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's right, Jay: it was Welles' daughter, Beatrice Welles-Smith who actually filed a lawsuit against Universal over the re-editing over the film. How that led to the film proper being released but not the documentary is a mystery (the lawsuit never reached court).

    Commentary featuring Curtis Hanson (among others?) was also on the cards, but that was deep-sixed, also.
     
  12. MikeDE

    MikeDE Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    15
    I thought the available DVD was the restored cut, with stills taking the place of missing scenes, etc.
     
  13. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2000
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the film was re-edited based on Welles 58 page then what's the problem? How can the estate sue Universal if the studio owns the film?
     
  14. Jeff Wilson

    Jeff Wilson Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Beatrice Welles (side note: there is no Welles estate, just Beatrice Welles' ownership of OTHELLO) sues over many things, whether it is justified or not. She sued to have the TOUCH OF EVIL re-cut stopped at first because she claimed it was being marketed as a "director's cut" and because she claimed the people involved were not qualified, IIRC. She wants money, plain and simple, and studios like Universal would rather pay her go-away money than spend time in court. It's largely how she makes a living, from all appearances. When she isn't suing someone, she spends her time as animal rights activist. Clearly Universal owns the film, and she has no claim on it, but corporations will do what they do. I have heard that Heston made nasty comments about her on a recorded commentary track, which led to it being pulled, but considering they could simply edit the offending comments out (unless he spent 90 minutes on variations of "DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL, BEATRICE WELLES!!"), I don't see that explanation holding much water.

    Beatrice Welles also sued Warner in 2003, claiming ownership of CITIZEN KANE and MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, through some "recently discovered" document that supposedly gave Welles the rights to both films. And if she didn't have rights, she claimed to be owed back royalties on both films. I haven't heard if that was settled or not. I would imagine Warner would want to pursue their rights vigorously on that one.

    Coupled with her ham-fisted restoration of OTHELLO, she hasn't been the best representative of her father's work.
     
  15. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2000
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think she needs slapping to be honest with you. Ruining her father's good name.[​IMG]
     
  16. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would get the current DVD. As far as I know, no rumour of a special edition is in the pipe, and the DVD out there now is pretty cheap and of pretty decent quality in my opinion. It's about on par quality wise with their Hitchcock releases, except Touch of Evil is anamorphic.

    I would love a special edition with both versions, but for now the current edition is decent.
     
  17. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,555
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    If Beatrice Welles is so protective about her father's films, why was Kane's negative lost? [​IMG]

    And it's silly to even think of the Touch of Evil reconstruction to be helmed by "unqualified" people. I'd like to know how Walter Murch, Rich Schmidlin, and Bob O'Neil are "unqualified".
     
  18. RichardCrowther

    RichardCrowther Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jeff,

    After poking about and reading all sorts of similar reports over the years, I think it's safe to say that you've probably hit the nail on the head there, in a lot of respects.[​IMG] Great post.

    It would appear that everyone under the sun who so much as brushed passed Welles in the street now seems to believe they own everything he was ever involved in, and as a result very few projects, such as completing the films he left unfinished (or even just releasing the raw footage for us all to view and admire), or restoring the films he did finish to their original glory, ever seems to get further than an idea on paper or someone's imagination.

    It's so sad that, as ever, these things always come down to how much money people think thay can make out of Welle's legacy, and that's when the trouble usually begins...[​IMG]
     

Share This Page