There has been much debate over the aspect ratio of the 1998 re-release. Apparently Orson Welles wanted to shoot the movie in flat widescreen (1.85:1), but Universal ordered him to film it in Academy ratio (1.37:1). When the film was restored, the production team offered to do the restorations in full screen, but Universal had them release it in widescreen, which the DVD is. However, TV viewings in 4:3 help viewers see the full framing that Welles clearly intended for the picture.

Was screened at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, where judges (and then critics) Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut awarded it the top-prize. It was said the film was a great influence on starting Godard's and Truffaut's illustrious careers, both of whom within a year went on to make their first films À bout de souffle and Les quatre cents coups, respectively.

When Orson Welles discovered that his film was recut, he wrote a letter to the production house with specifics on how he would have wanted the film to be released. This memo, thought to be lost, was found to be in the possession of star Charlton Heston and was the basis for the re-edited 1998 re-release.

When Orson Welles first met with Dennis Weaver, he asked Weaver what he thought was the most important characteristic of "Chester," the role Weaver played on the hit TV show Gunsmoke, Weaver said that Chester was very deferential and always hung behind the other characters. Welles then told Weaver that for "Touch of Evil" he wanted Weaver to be just the opposite - very pushy and in-your-face.

When he signed on to direct Touch of Evil, instead of reading the book on which it was based, a pulp novel named "Badge of Evil," Orson Welles completely changed an early draft of the script.

While at Universal working on this film, Orson Welles picked up some extra work by doing the narration for the trailer for the science fiction classic The Incredible Shrinking Man.

Joseph Cotten

Mercedes McCambridge