(out of 5)
High on the list of 1950s classics is this genius film noir by Orson Welles (who only made it because of a contractual obligation). Charlton Heston plays a Mexican police officer (better than you’d expect) whose impending marriage to an earnest Janet Leigh is interrupted by his investigation of a dangerously corrupt cop (Welles). Marlene Dietrich has an excellent cameo as a woman with a few secrets, the photography is perfectly moody, and the script taut to perfection. Leigh stands out in the first of two memorable roles that required her to demand lodging at the nearest motel (and she gets physically harmed both times–some people just never learn!) Look for Mercedes McCambridge as one of the male (?) teenage thugs who just can’t wait to see their gang leader rape Leigh in her motel bed.
Directed by Orson Welles
Screenplay by Orson Welles, based on the novel Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson
Cinematography by Russell Metty
Produced by Albert Zugsmith
Music by Henry Mancini
Costume Design by Bill Thomas