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Touch of Evil

Marlene Dietrich in Touch of Evil.

For its time, this had to be the most lurid, most deliciously seedy film ever made. Orson Welles' Hank Quinlan stands out as a man about as repellent as it gets, unshaven, unhealthy, corpulent, corrupt, you can almost smell the stink of bad breath and bad liquor on this bad boy. In his earlier days, before the candy bars, before the hooch, he was close to Tanya (Marlene Dietrich), a gypsy fortune-teller who, to hear him tell it, could whip up quite a savory chili. When Hank reappears at her establishment many years later, she finds him totally unrecognizable. Here we see Tanya in all her glory, unmoved, serene, almost cryptic.

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Images copyright Guy Budziak