When heiress Jean Courtland attempts suicide, her fiancée Elliott Carson probes her relationship to John Triton. In flashback, we see how stage mentalist Triton starts having terrifying flashes of true precognition. His partner, Whitney Courtland, uses Triton's talent to make money; but Triton's inability to prevent what he foresees, causes him to break up the act and become a hermit. Years later, Triton has new visions and desperately tries to prevent tragedies in the Courtland family. Can his warnings succeed against suspicion, unbelief, and inexorable fate? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard':
I was becoming more frightened every day, and I began to have a crazy feeling that... I was making the things come true - like a voodoo sorcerer who kills people by sticking pins in the doll. I thought of the man with a broken collar bone, the boy with the matches. Would anything have happened to them if I had kept quiet?
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Night Has a Thousand Eyes is directed by John Farrow and adapted to screenplay by Barre Lyndon and Jonathan Latimer from the novel of the same name written by Cornell Woolrich. It stars Edward G. Robinson, Gail Russell, John Lund, Virginia Bruce, William Demarest, Richard Webb and Jerome Cowan. Music is scored by Victor Young and cinematography by John F. Seitz.
John Triton (Robinson) is a nightclub fortune teller who suddenly finds he really does posses psychic ability. As his predictions become more bleaker, Triton struggles with what was once a gift but now is very much a curse.
During a visually sumptuous beginning to the film, a girl is saved from suicide, it's an attention grabbing start and sets the tone for what will follow. Mood and strangulated atmosphere born out by photographic styles, craft of acting and Young's spine tingling score are the keys to the film's success, with the pervading sense of doom ensuring the narrative never falls into mawkish hell. It's a film that shares thematic similarities with a 1934 Claude Rains picture titled The Clairvoyant, only here we enter noir territory for Triton's cursed journey, where as the Rains movie was ultimately leading us to the savage idiocy of mob justice.
Farrow's (The Big Clock/Where Danger Lives) film falls into a small quasi supernatural group of black and whites that are formed around a carnival/psychic act. It's a situation for film that film noir makers sadly didn't explore more often, making the likes of Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Nightmare Alley and The Spiritualist little treasures to be cherished. Farrow gets as much suspense out of the story as he can, of which he is helped enormously by the great work of Robinson. At a time when the HUAC was breathing down his neck, Robinson turns in a definitive portrayal of a man caught in a trap, his fate sealed. His face haunted and haggard, his spoken words sorrowful and hushed, Robinson is simply terrific.
The world of prognostication gets a film noir make-over, death under the stars indeed. 8/10
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