Ep. 58: Touch of Evil with James Naremore

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We are honored to welcome film historian, Professor James Naremore, back to the show for a discussion on Orson Welles' 1958 film noir classic Touch of Evil. Orson Welles is a frequent topic of conversion on this podcast. We've had several Welles scholars make appearances, including Joseph McBride and Patrick McGilligan, as well as today's guest, Professor Naremore, who has made reference to his Welles critical study: The Magic World of Orson Welles on several previous occasions. Clearly, we at Flixwise will take any excuse to expound on our favorite cinematic wunderkind, but believe it or not, Touch of Evil is only the second Welles film on the Sight and Sound International Critics Poll.

Needless to say, we are thrilled to finally have another Welles Sight and Sound entry to mull over. Lady P and Naremore delve into Welles stylistic choices, and how they differ from some of Welles' previous Hollywood pictures. They talk about the terrific performances from both the lead actors and the supporting players, and of course the screen-scorching presence of Marlene Dietrich.

For the second topic, they move on to another iconic Welles character: Harry Lime. The purpose of art in today's scary political climate is a popular topic kicking around online magazines and social media feeds. Some articles have even suggested that these times of great tumult may prove a boon to artists, because, apparently, social revolt is grist to the mill for creative types. This sentiment echoes Harry Lime's "Cuckoo Clock" speech from Carol Reed's 1949 classic, The Third Man in which he makes a claim that great cultural works are produced primarily as a result of war and strife. Lady P and Naremore revisit this infamous speech, and discuss whether its central argument still holds any merit today, and perhaps more significantly, whether it ever held any merit at all.

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