29 Mar 2011

"TOUCH OF EVIL" (1958) Original Trailer

I´ve been catching up with Universal International´s neglected jewels. First I´ve started with this one, which, apart from the opening shot, I´ve never watched complete.

Differing versions (extracted from Wikipedia´s article)

1.- The original 1958 release version
2.- A longer version, released in 1976
3.- A 1998 restored version that attempted to follow Welles's 1958 memo as closely as possible.

Welles's rough cut as submitted to Universal no longer exists. This was worked on and trimmed down by Universal staff, and in late 1957 Universal decided to perform some reshoots. Welles claimed these were done without his knowledge, but Universal claimed that Welles ignored their requests to return and undertake further work. This was when Keller came aboard: some of his material was entirely new, some replaced Welles scenes. Welles viewed the new cut and wrote a 58-page memo to Universal's head of production, Edward Muhl, detailing what he thought needed to be done to make the film work. However, many of his suggestions went unheeded and Touch of Evil was eventually released in a version running 93 minutes.

In the mid-1970s, Universal discovered that it held a 108-minute print of Touch of Evil in its archives. Aware that there was a growing audience of cineastes with a strong interest in Welles' work, the studio released this version to cinemas in 1976 and later issued it on video, billing it as 'complete, uncut and restored'. In fact, this print was not a restoration at all, but a preview version which post-dated the Welles memo but pre-dated the release version. While it did feature some vital Welles scenes which had been cut from the release version, it also featured more Keller material: the new footage had been cut into the film, but much of it ended up being cut out again, resulting in pointless expense for Universal.

In 1998, the film was re-released in a re-edited form, which was based on the Welles memo and edited by Walter Murch, working from all available material, with Bob O'Neil (Universal's director of film restoration) and Bill Varney (sound engineer) participating in the restoration.[6] As Welles' rough cut no longer exists, no true 'Welles cut' is possible, but Murch was able to assemble a version incorporating most of the existing material, omitting some of the Keller scenes (though some were retained, either because they had replaced Welles scenes which no longer existed and were necessary to the plot, or because Welles had approved of their inclusion). In addition, some of Welles's complaints were concerned with subtle sound and editing choices, and Murch was able to re-edit the material accordingly.[7] Notable changes include the removal of the credits and music from the three-minute opening shot, crosscutting between the main story and Janet Leigh's subplot and the removal of Harry Keller's hotel lobby scene. Rick Schmidlin was the producer on the 1998 edit, which had a limited but successful theatrical release (again by Universal) and was subsequently made available on DVD. The DVD includes a reproduction of the 58-page memo.

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