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The last honest cop in Mexico…

12 July 2007

TJ Shroat (In The Pink Texas) FINALLY got around to seeing “A Touch of Evil” the 1957 classic thriller set in the good old days of drug smuggling, when we had, as “Mike” Vargas puts it “1400 miles without a machine gun emplacement. I suppose that all sounds very corny to you.

The film noir classic, which I watched for the first time last week, is great at times and head-scratchingly awful at others. Mostly, I came away wondering how the participants and the movie itself ever came together almost fifty years ago, and delighted by the ironic resonance of border relations between then and now.

Charlton Heston … plays Ramon Miguel “Mike” Vargas, the last good, uncorrupted Mexican cop to appear in cinema until Benicio Del Toro in Traffic. Yes, that’s right. Charlton Heston plays a Mexicoan. If nothing else about Touch of Evil sounds appealing to you, at least view it for the chance to see Heston in Latinoface. Heavy Latinoface.

In the climatic scene of the movie, Vargas escapes to Mexico after parting the Rio Grande, then closing it on the pursuing Quinlan. He then notices the head of the Statue of Liberty, buried in the sand. Vargas: “¡Tú maniacos! ¡Lo soplaste para arriba! ¡Amperio hora, maldición tú! ¡Maldición del dios tú todo al infierno!”

Uh, T.J., ¿Fumaba un poquito mota ?

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