Touch of Evil and Diamond Head
Alan Marcus

Metaphorically set in a border town, the darkly lit, libidinous urban topography of Orson Welles’ classic late film noir, Touch of Evil (1958), harbours primal fears and partially clads criminal activities, underscoring the fact that in the 1950s miscegenation was still illegal in a number of US states. This article juxtaposes Charlton Heston‘s leading role in two interracial romances, Touch of Evil and Diamond Head (1963), which takes place in the new border state of Hawaii. The historical foregrounding of the Civil Rights movement in the United States during the 1950s and ‘60s with respect to the interracial romances growing popularity is discussed, and the relevance of recent genetic research into the appeal of difference and the way it functions within a ‘primal drama’.

Film Studies
Alan Marcus

Leni Riefenstahl was one of filmmakings most contentious directors. The power of her epic documentaries, Triumph of the Will (1935) and Olympia (1938), have cemented her place in film history. More criticism has been written about Riefenstahl than any other director, except perhaps Hitchcock and Welles. Publicity surrounding the publication of an illustrated book marking her centenary reawakened debates about Riefenstahl‘s career in film and her involvement with the Third Reich. In this article, I focus on one of the key films which emerged from that relationship, Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens), which I discussed at length in my interview with Riefenstahl. Her recollections were sharp and I was intrigued by some of her answers, not for what new insight they offered, but for how they reaffirmed how she wished others to interpret her films and motivations. In particular, I was interested in the way she considered Triumph of the Will to be a realistic portrayal of the Nazi‘s 1934 Nuremberg Rally and the events surrounding it, and her role as a filmmaker in shaping that representation.

Film Studies