Phony mentalist John Triton (Edward G. Robinson, Little Caesar) develops true premonition during one of his acts. Haunted by visions of death and doom, Triton realizes that he’s unable to prevent bad things from happening. Bitter and confused, the psychic goes into hiding. Twenty years later, a new vision gives Triton an opportunity to challenge fate. Would he succeed?
Reaction & Thoughts:
Based upon Cornell Woolrich’s short story and directed by John Farrow (Hondo), Night Has a Thousand Eyes feels at times like an extended episode of the classic TV show Twilight Zone and I mean it as a compliment.
Night Has a Thousand Eyes also reminded me of The Clairvoyant (1934) and The Dead Zone (1983), two great films about mediums. I tend to like films about psychics so I immediately got sucked into the film’s interesting storyline.
The structure of the film is good and both the camera work (by John F. Seitz, Sunset Boulevard) and music score (by Victor Young, For Whom the Bells Toll) are excellent. Seitz, in particular, should be commended for giving the movie a dense visual texture — aesthetically speaking, this is a rather interesting movie.
Edward G. Robinson’s superb performance is the main reason to watch this intriguing film, though. He is terrific as a man destroyed by guilt.
Gail Russell (Angel and The Badman) is also excellent as the woman Robinson is trying to save. John Lund (A Foreign Affair) is a bit overshadowed by both Robinson and Russell. William Dearest (The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek) plays a cynical and skeptical police detective. The fine supporting cast also includes Jerome Cowan (Mr. Skeffington), Richard Webb (Out of the Past) and Virginia Bruce (Born to Dance).
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Sadly, this rather obscure Paramount production has fallen into public domain hell so the print I saw was just okay (good luck finding an acceptable print!). Night Has a Thousand Eyes is an excellent thriller that deserves to be better known — it contains one of Robinson’s best if little seen performances. B&W, 81 minutes, Not Rated.