one of Welles best films, and also worth it just for Dietrich's cameo
Dark and stylish, it's great to see Marlene Dietrich enveloped in the cigar smoke - very Von Sternburg! Janet Leigh is sassy and gets stuck in another weird motel - won't she ever learn? Great stuff. Watch it in the dark.
Dispensing with screen credits the dynamite loaded start immediately put me up in a state of suspense. Those initial crane tracking shots were just one of many superbly filmed sequences in Orson Wells’ gritty and sleazy backhander to police corruption. Nothing to rave about, the murder mystery is pure pulp fiction. Most characters are darkly coloured, the dialogue at times sparkling and at others a fizzle, and the sound track late 50’s bongo rock trash. However, Wells was at a cinematic peak in his directorial camera use, film editing and acting, here playing doughy faced Hank Quinlan, the bigoted and disagreeable, porky police detective of a small Mexican border town. Sultry Marlene Dietrich briefly sizzles while good guy Charlton Heston is a Mexican narcotics investigator. “He’s what?” you might well say. Three and a half stars.
Orson Wells at his darkest. Really enjoyed it.
Probably best for lovers of 'film noir' or those wanting to see how the great directors used to do it.
What a character Orson Welles created in Hank Quinlan, a giant of a man brought down by his own excesses and sorrow. He is the Sheriff who “never let another killer get away” after he failed to capture the man who, many years ago, killed his own wife. So he has taken to acting on his hunches and planting evidence to entrap whoever he suspects. This is Orson Welles’s last great movie and it was by no means a success when released. In fact the story is secondary. It twists and turns and never really engages, but this movie is all about its visual direction and the character created by Welles. It looks the business. He brings to life the sleazy after-hours streets of the Mexican border town where it is set. It contains the very famous opening shot where the camera tracks a car that has a bomb aboard in a long unbroken shot. Amusing to modern audiences is the absolute horror portrayed of narcotics. Even stubs of marijuana cigarettes are recoiled from in fear.
Hi, to quick, confusing and rattled of for me and fell asleep, when my wife woke me up she had no idee what she 'd been looking at same complaint. Ed
It's been my favorite movie for a long time. Of the thousands of films I have seen it may not necessarily be the best but it is the one I truly love the most and I can watch it over an over again.
I won't go into details about its layers of meaning but this movie says something about a lot of things. Like ethics in world politics.
Orson Welles has created a magnificent character with Quinlan. A genuine badass. And still, you will feel really awful when he ultimately goes down. Marlene's final line in the movie always does to me what no tearjerker has ever achieved...
Film school interest for it's long opening continuous single take. Use of lighting in exterior locations is worth a look. But generally hard to follow and dialogue needs subtitles. Looks like a film from the fities and hasn't aged well. Sorry Orson, I couldn't even stick round thru to the end.
From the fantastic opening sequence to the Shakespearean ending, this film has it all -- great 'film noir' visuals, a terrific score, a good cast and, above all, a compelling storyline not so much touched by evil as one pervaded by its banal malevolence. While Orson Welles' Hank Quinlan must be one of cinema's vilest characters, his demise is both fitting but, strangely, one that won't have you cheering. This is a complex film (it's not just about corruption and power) that demands to be watched and listened to.
Worth watching only from the point of view of Orson Welles and historical value.