NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES

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Night Has A Thousand Eyes Cover Hey! Have you checked out the name of the film printed up above? If so, just answer for me two simple questions. One: How often does the night need to go to the opticians? Plus Two: What happens when it needs to buy glasses? HUH? What's that you say? You don't know? Fair enough. Neither does the Director: John Farrow; or the Actors: Edward G. Robinson and Gail Russell. Especially for 81-minutes in 1948.


Night Has A Thousand Eyes : The Film - The Book


THE STORY:
I'm sorry, Elliott (John Lund). I'm so sorry that I put you in the position where you had to save Jean (Gail Russell) from committing suicide. And I'm sorry to you too, Jean. I'm so sorry that my clairvoyant ability led you to try to take your own life in the first place.

But I must confess; I wasn't always like this. About twenty years ago I was just your run-of-the-mill stage performer called John Triton (Edward G. Robinson). Who worked with Jean's Mum and Dad -- Jenny and Whitney (Virginia Bruce and Jerome Cowan) -- entertaining the masses with my so called premonition act.

Then one fateful night something strange happened to me. Something that made me perceive peoples future's in my mind. Not intentionally of course. No. Not at all. It just came to me out of the blue, as if some invisible hand was forcing me to see things I wouldn't normally be able to see.

Admittedly, my 'special gift' was a good thing for all of us at first. As it gave us the opportunity to help those around us. However, as time past, I saw what this ability truly was at face value. A curse. A curse I couldn't control no matter how hard I tried.

Well, come on, why else would I thrust your parents together in matrimony, Jean? Moreover, why do you think I hid away for all those years, just so I could keep those people I love at arms length?

It didn't work though. Did it, Jean? Especially where your Mum and Dad were concerned! One by one they both died from natural causes and air travel, even though I did try to warn you about Whitney beforehand.

Still. That is most probably why what next transpires all begins anew when Elliot asks Lieutenant Shawn (William Demarest) to see if I'm lying or not. As some visions do - some vision lie - some visions save - and some visions die.




THE REVIEW:
Now the first few words that flew out of my mouth after watching, 'Night Has a Thousand Eyes', were, 'My God! What a f*cking fantastic film! Why in hell haven't I heard about it before?'.

Night Has A Thousand Eyes French Film Poster
Yeah. Honestly, folks. To me, this movie just goes to show that story and character is king and nothing else really matters. Screw special-effects. Screw you're celebrity of the month. Plus screw anything else I can't think of at the moment either. This flick just sucked me in from the get go. Telling a tale. Relaying some character. Adding a lot of pathos. And just garnishing the screen with a novelistic narrative that was so engrossing and so captivating to follow, part of me actually wants to watch it again as I type this review.

Well, just take into consideration how this story is structured for example. The first five minutes is dedicated to a fiancé saving his fiancée from killing herself. The next twenty minutes explains the circumstances surrounding the fiancées predicament, whilst simultaneously relaying an origin story of the man who instigated this event to begin with. The next twenty minutes after that is mainly focused on the man in question, setting up who he is, what he does, plus how he met the fiancée to instigate the initial narrative. And finally, the remainder of this film concentrates on keeping the fiancée alive, as well as if the man who started this adventure was telling the truth or not.

Hey! I hope I've done this movie some justice with my brief summation, cause it is well worth seeing. Furthermore, I have to also mention how great Edward G. Robinson and William Demarest are in this picture too. For Ed, he just makes you believe in everything he says and does no matter how far fetched it may appear. Whilst for Will, his character allows us to doubt Edward's origins when the moment arises. In fact, Ed and Will complement each other so much during the latter part of this piece, I would have truthfully liked there to have been more scenes with them in it together.


Night Has A Thousand Eyes Movie Poster


Night Has A Thousand Eyes with Edward G. Robinson
Still. You can't have it all. Can you? But I tell you what you can have, folks, these following filmic facts. (1) 'Paramount Pictures' first released this $1.9 million dollar production on the very same day that the American singer-songwriter, John Ford Coley, was born -- the 13th of October, 1948. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Eyes of the Night' in France; and 'You Die at Eleven' in West Germany. (3) This film-noir was based a novel written by Cornell Woolrich, and it was published in 1945. (4) Apart from those scenes shot at 'Paramount Studios', Hollywood, quite a bit of this movie was shot on location throughout the Californian state of Los Angeles. This includes the 3rd Street Tunnel Stairway -- situated in Downtown L.A. -- plus Angel's Flight Railway, and Sunshine Apartments -- based in Bunker Hill. (5) The tag-line used to promote this picture, was, 'Never Have the Stars Looked Down on an Adventure Like This!'. (6) Amongst many other movies made between 1929 and 1949, 'Paramount Pictures' sold this one to 'Universal Studios' in 1958. (7) When this film was adapted for the NBC radio show, 'Screen Directors Playhouse', most of the cast -- including Edward G. Robinson -- reprized their roles when it was broadcast in the late 1940's. (8) After this flick was released, it's theme-tune, written by Jerry Brainin and Buddy Bernier, then went on to become a jazz standard, having been recorded by the likes of John Coltrane, Carmen McRae, Horace Silver, Paul Desmond, and many-many more. Go on. Check this out...




Night Has A Thousand Eyes Cast Art
Now before I pop off to never-never land, folks, let me just ask you one simple question that the 'Night Has a Thousand Eyes' touched upon during its conclusion. Is clairvoyance a real ability or not? And if it is, would it be a help, a hindrance, or something else altogether?   

Admittedly, according to this film it's all of these things rolled up into one. But then again is that a cop out answer or something that needs further explanation?

Hmm. A great film. A classic film. Nuff said.

THE RATING: A