Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Orson Welles’s birth with a special, free screening of his noir classic “Touch of Evil” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, at Great Lakes Mall Atlas Cinemas.
“Touch of Evil” tells the story of a Mexican Drug Enforcement Agent (played by Charlton Heston) and an American police captain (Welles) who investigate a car bomb. They must discover who committed the crime, as well as uncover who is planting the evidence that would frame an innocent man.
The screening will be hosted by Chris Lambert, a local Welles expert who will introduce the film while in character as the director.
Lambert has spent decades studying Welles and the last three years speaking as him. He has performed at places as diverse as bookstores, churches and even the Cleveland Museum of Art. He will talk about both Welles and the creation of “Touch of Evil” before the screening. His talk will begin at 6 p.m. with the film following at 7:30 p.m.
“‘Touch of Evil’ is special, I feel, because it is underrated,” Lambert said. “With repeated viewing, we see both how multilayered the film is how and how tortured Welles’s character, Captain Quinlain, is.”
The screening can serve both as a celebration and as an introduction to Welles, one of cinema’s most celebrated directors. Furthermore, one need not be an expert to appreciate Welles’s work, Lambert said.
“You do not need to be a cinephile to enjoy a Welles film,” he said, “but it helps to find all the interesting and minute details in his films, as he makes such complex films.”
This special screening is presented by Mentor Public Library and Atlas Cinemas and sponsored by the Mentor Community Arts Commission.
“Orson Welles was a pioneer in filmmaking whose approach to writing, acting and directing is studied and interpreted even today,” Atlas Cinemas Director of Operations Christopher Baxter said. “He was an artist. Making films wasn’t just a job. His passion came through as he was personally connected to the films that he made.”