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Dan Barr is a flatfoot on the trail of jewel robbers. Eve Fallon is his girl of 5 years. We meet them spitting and sparring, but never doubting they're in love. Eve is a manicurist, with an eye for news. Soon after we meet her, she's out of the beauty salon and into the news-room as an ace reporter. With Eve's help, Dan nabs one of the jewel gang members, Cortig, whose stray bullet killed a baby in the park. A spooked witness and a slick lawyer get Cortig off. Disgusted with the lack of justice, Dan quits the force to find his own justice. Eve, likewise, quits the paper and returns to her job as manicurist. While giving a manicure, Eve unwittingly discovers that a prominent local citizen is the jewel gang's leader. All the while, Dan is hot on the trail. Their trails merge and the case is solved. Written by
Debbie Dunlap <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
[In barber shop running his hand on the back of manicurist Eve Fallon]
Eeny, meanie, mynie, mo. I'll take this one.
Oh, so you're the guy who ran his thumb down my back.
Your truly, Benjamin Battle! How's it, Babe?
How's it yourself?... I knew it was you. I know the feel of your fingerprints.
Ouch! Never say 'fingerprints' when I'm around. It gives me a sickly feeling.
Yeah, I'd have a nasty answer for that if I wasn't workin' here. What can I do for you?
Oh, give me a manicure, but don't rush ...
[...] See more »
A mature Grant, a complex and fluid plot, and some lightweight entertainment
Big Brown Eyes (1936)
Well, the big brown eyes that come to mind here belong to Cary Grant, who is coming into his own here. You'll recognize not only the looks (the eyes are heavier in the earlier films) but a mature attitude, the relaxed and cocky and sarcastic fellow that is so famous.
The leading woman is Joan Bennett, who plays Grant's love interest. Bennett is not well known as a type the way Crawford or other women from her period are, and it's partly because she plays a kind of generic character, in this case a blond, sweet, smart, fun woman. She actually became more famous later in a couple Fritz Lang dramas (as a brunette), also playing a type. what she had going for her was a natural and fluid ease before the camera. And an ability to fit a part, not steal the show.
Because the show belongs to Grant. And Grant here is a cop, Danny Barr. He tends to insert his casual confidence and slow ease as a cop and it's actually a pretty interesting fit, not at all the stereotype created by harder boiled types, or more witty ones (name a half a dozen famous ones). It's fascinating to watch him at this pivotal point in his career. It's usually pointed out that Grant's persona solidified in 1937 in "The Awful Truth" but having watched most of these films from this period it really seems that he's fully himself here, a year earlier. History is right in the sense that "The Awful Truth" pushed Grant's career up a notch simply because it's a better movie. And he has a more prominent role in it.
Here, the action is spread between Grant and his cops, Bennett and her life bouncing from being a manicurist to a reporter, and the "bad guys" who are up to their usual no good. These thugs are actually pretty convincing, falling short of the hardened awful types of some movies. One of them (the kingpin) is a young Walter Pidgeon, who is not quite right in his role, but it's fun to see him so early in his career.
"Big Brown Eyes" is poorly name, but besides that it's not a bad movie at all, and if you follow the several plot lines (all connected) it gets pretty interesting. Every now and then when the plot is sped up (thankfully) the camera shows a whole range of characters close up and at a tilt. It's both affected (a little at odds with the rest of the movie) and successful (at speeding up the plot with appropriate humor and agitation). There are some fun twists (like when Bennett accidentally makes a fingerprint dusting using some talcum powder. And there are lots of turns, people quitting jobs and leaving town, and some odd shocks, as when the baby is killed.
In the end it's also a romance with Grant in the lead role, well done and sharply acted. See it.
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