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by Danny Baldwin

The iconic opening tracking shot of Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" goes over two minutes before a word is spoken. An inspiration for many "one-ers" in the decades to come, several of which pay direct homage to the particular shot (such as in "The Player" and "In Bruges"), the sequence is a technical feat of composition, focus-pulling, and staging. But, as the critic Mike D'Angelo writes, the shot isn't about dragging attention to itself: "Orson Welles isn’t showboating here, by any means—he has sound reasons for constructing the sequence the way he does, and arguably passes up several opportunities to make it flashier or more technically impressive. It’s essentially a long, elaborate tease, very much indebted to Hitchcock’s notions about the nature of suspense."

Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958) — Opening Tracking Shot

The iconic opening tracking shot from Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil."

from Touch of Evil (1958)
Creator: Orson Welles
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Posted by Danny Baldwin
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