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(Review originally written at 24 October 2010)

This movie is a rare case of being one in which the story becomes absolutely secondary and it's all about the actual film-making and all of the techniques behind it. It's all of the highest quality but by saying all this I don't mean that the story itself is bad. Not at all really.

In truth the story is perhaps being a bit simple and not always credible. Nevertheless it's the sort of story, about corruption and serious heavy crime at an American-Mexican border-town, that suits the genre and gives the actors in this plenty of room to shine. You could say that this movie is being a late film-noir and perhaps a bit of a throwback to the '40's. Perhaps this is also part of the reason why this movie didn't do to well at the box office at the time of its first initial release.

But every film-lover should be able to appreciate this movie because of the very simple reason that it's an incredibly well made one. It's truly amazing how this movie got done and how it looks. The directing in this is phenomenal and absolutely nothing short of brilliant. There are some amazingly constructed scenes and build-ups, that makes this movie a masterclass in directing, for everybody who aspires such a career. Rarely have I ever seen such a well directed movie. Just like Orson Welles' best known movie and his absolute masterpiece "Citizen Kane", this movie is filled with creative and technically amazing shots and sequences. The very long opening sequences is the ultimate example of this. When a movie starts that well already you only can hope for it that the rest of the movie can life up to its opening as well. And yes, this movie delivers, from start to finish.

The cinematography and lighting of this movie is also a definite highlight. It also definitely helps the movie and it's overall atmosphere and style that it's one that got entirely shot in black & white.

It's kind of weird seeing Charlton Heston playing a Mexican in this though. He does a good job with his role but I certainly would had never cast him in such a role. But it simply turned out all well, so why should anybody still complain about this. The movie is filled with lots of big acting names from the past, with Janet Leigh as the female lead and Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor in some bit parts. But the person that truly outshines about everybody in this is Orson Welles himself. He's an enormous presence in this movie, also really physically, as the corrupt and rotten American cop, with questionable methods of investigating.

I just absolutely loved this movie because of how incredibly well it all got done and put together by Orson Welles.

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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