This scene signifies the beginning of a relationship representing all things positive and tender and affectionate, which is disrupted by this explosion, which represents the disturbances that life represents - some of which the relationship may survive, but more importantly, sets the tone for the wife to be prepared for her new husband to leave her in an instant to deal with these disturbances. The film line revolves around Vargas, the 'hero' and his weakness in balancing his personal and professional responsibilities. On a broader level, this opening scene is a microcosm for the theme of the rest of the film: the ever raging and seemingly endless battle between good and evil, within the characters themselves as well as between them. (Tom Dirk, Film site review)
The title Orson Welles appears in the 9th second who introduces t...
d us and he appears almost larger than life until he reaches his full height and balance within the camera which indicates that he is only human, after-all. This scene represents the progression of his character through the movie: he begins as a seemingly powerful man that will stop at nothing to achieve his goal (of catching the 'bad guys') and cannot be stopped by any force known to man. As his character progresses through the film, we see a leveling out that suggests that even all-powerful men ultimately have to live within the boundaries of life - and if you choose not to, justice will eventually prevail to maintain the balance between good and evil.
The next title is consistent with the first (black with the credit appearing in a white outline for an elegant and classic feel) and appears in the 11th second: 'Touch of Evil' that heralds in the next scene is actually the crux of the film as it begins to unfold. The sound overlaid on the credit, for but a second, is meant to represent mystery. In seconds 12 to 16, Quinlan sports a self-satisfied and smug look and the sound begins: "Vargas himself has a theory that the murder was committed outside our jurisdiction" and the camera cuts to Vargas who looks confident and also somewhat suspicious of this 'theory'. The scene then cuts to the increasing tension and friction between Vargas and Quinlan: the tone is being set for a battle between these two and the battle between good and evil that ensues. The body language of the group of men who proposed Vargas' 'theory' seems to be in support of Quinlan and blinded by the reality of his methods of investigation. Vargas is in alien territory and the representative of justice will have to fight his battle single-handedly, as justice always needs to win against all odds.