Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)

“This gift, which I never asked for and don’t understand, has brought me only unhappiness!”

Synopsis:
A carnival mentalist (Edward G. Robinson) soon discovers that he has legitimate psychic powers, and is distressed to learn that he can predict tragic events. When he foresees the violent, imminent death of an heiress (Gail Russell), Russell’s concerned boyfriend (John Lund) suspects foul play — but Robinson remains determined to protect Russell at any cost.

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Review:
This nifty little B-thriller (directed by John Farrow, Mia’s dad) packs a powerful wallop, offering plenty of suspense and tension in its 81-minute running time. Edward G. Robinson is remarkably sympathetic as an unwitting psychic who’d rather not be able to see into the future, and who resists exploitation at any cost — indeed, he’s essentially a tragic hero, given that his powers cost him his fiancee (Virginia Bruce), his integrity (no one believes him), and any chance at a normal, happy life. Gail Russell (does any actress have more expressive eyes?) is perfectly cast as a brooding heiress with much on her mind; we genuinely fear for her safety. John Seitz’s stark b&w cinematography adds to the rich atmosphere of the tale, which may lack standard noir tropes but offers a similarly bleak, fate-ridden take on the world.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Edward G. Robinson as John Triton
    Night Eyes Robinson
  • Gail Russell as Jean
    Night Eyes Russell
  • John Seitz’s noirish cinematography
    Night Eyes Cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as an all-around “good show”.

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One Response to “Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)”

  1. Yes, a must – a good show.

    This is a mystery that, with its trapped hero, is practically film noir. It’s one of those films you thank God is in black and white – just wouldn’t work in color. It’s a movie that sneaks up, grabs, and doesn’t let go.

    Granted, it’s a gimmick flick, but handled with a sure hand by dependable director Farrow.

    It’s one that you don’t want to know too much about before seeing it. Love those.

    And ya gotta love Robinson. Esp. when he says, “There are things on Earth still hidden from us. Secret things – dark and mysterious.” So true.

    So satisfying!

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