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Cool filming saves the 'Mexican' Heston

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By The Staff

Always wanted to see Charlton Heston play a Mexican? You could have 40 years ago – but in this case, procrastination paid off.

Mesa Public Library’s Free Film Series will present “Touch of Evil” at 6:30 a.m. Thursday in the upstairs rotunda, a 1958 film retouched in the late ’90s in order to bring the movie as closely as possible to director Orson Welles’ vision for it.

After Welles originally presented his film to Universal, the producer made several cuts and even hired another director, Harry Keller, to reshoot some scenes. Despite a 58-page memo from Welles begging the studio to not go forward with the new film – and detailing suggestions for how to make the film work – it took a full 30 years before Universal would listen.

With help from Universal’s Bob O’Neil and sound engineer Bill Varney, editor Walter Murch attempted to restore the film. The result is startling cinematic beauty, even while certain aspects of the film don’t quite meet today’s standards for realism.


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