Classic Film, Touch of Evil- Communist Propaganda?

The famous Orson Welles wrote, directed, and starred in his 1958 film, Touch of Evil.

The plot is pretty crap. Welles has an American cop going absolutely rogue aided by the American government only to be stopped by the heroic Mexican government.

The anti-American hatred displayed by Hollywood has grown large from roots burrowing deep many decades ago.

The notorious House un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which called Hollywood insiders to testify on Communist infiltration… was totally right.

One thing to remember when spotting Communist propaganda is that it’s not always obvious at first glance. Here is how one actor, an avid anti-Communist, spoke on the issue in in 1947.

Adolphe Menjou explained:

“I don’t like that word Communist propaganda because I have seen no such thing as Communist propaganda as waving the hammer in sickle in motion pictures. I have seen things that I thought were against what I consider good Americanism.”

Understanding Welles picture as Communist propaganda–or perhaps as anti-American as Menjou would have preferred–must be done so with Menjou’s explanation in mind.

Welles was a smart man. He wasn’t so crude as to wave a Russian flag. So instead, he demonizes America and lionizes Communist countries. At one point he even has the Mexican government lawyer lecturing Americans on the ills of becoming a “police state.”

In 1958, Mexico was ruled by the PRI, partido revolucionario institucional, the Revolutionary Party, and member of Socialist International. The PRI has owned Mexico with more or less one party rule for the last century.

A Touch of Evil also portrayed Mexican cartels in a favorable light compared to American cops. The American cop was pure evil. But the Mexican drug cartels were shown as naive pranksters out for a laugh.

Naturally, when such beliefs seed themselves in the American mind, making reasonable policy and laws becomes difficult and even impossible.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Yeah, Welles was an anti-fascist propagandist. He wouldn’t have called himself Communist; but he was effectively working in the interest of Communist propaganda. So you have to look at it as basically the US became the Nazis for these kinds of folks after the war. The Third Man is another example of an anti-American movie involving Welles. It is very closely connected to Cambridge Five ring.

    Touch of Evil also opens an interesting dialogue into how figures like Charlton Heston (brought Welles back from exile but had ample HUAC connections), or Ted Nugent, could look like anti-Communists but actually aid a specifically Russian propaganda strategy.

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