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>
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 »
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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Cornell Woolrich is best recalled (in movies) for the film version of one of his best tales, REAR WINDOW. However other stories of his, written under his real name or as "William Irish", became film. THE LEOPARD MAN, one of the first of Val Lewton's B-feature productions, was based on one of his stories. So is THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES.
Edward G. Robinson is a clairvoyant who worked with Jerome Cowan in a mentalist act. Only one problem - Robinson discovers he actually can predict the future. Unfortunately, in Woolrich's realistic view of the seen and unseen world, having a psychic power is not necessarily good. Robinson can foresee good things (he forsees that Cowan's buying into a potential oil field operation will make millions), but he also sees tragedy frequently. The woman he loves (the third person in the act) wants to marry him, but he suddenly refuses - he sees problems about her pregnancy. She marries Cowan - and dies giving birth to the daughter who becomes Gail Russell. Robinson soon discovers he cannot stop tragedy. When he warns a newsboy to be careful going home, he tries to reassure the boy by giving him a large tip. The boy starts running home, and gets hit (and presumably killed) by a car.
Robinson has contacted Cowan to warn him that he should not go flying. Cowan's plane crashes and he is killed. Robinson than contacts Russell to try to help her. Her boyfriend John Lund, at first, rejects Robinson's warnings, but as they uncannily come true becomes increasingly convinced that Robinson not a faker. But Detective William Demerest (in a curious mixed role, half serious and half comic) is not sure - it seems somebody tampered with the wiring of Cowan's plane.
So the movie progresses - is Robinson legitimately psychic, and trying to help Russell, or is he the evil genius in some plan to get control of the fortune. And as Cowan was in the middle of a major oil merger when he died, many others are interested in knowing the truth...or hiding it.
This film, for some reason, always gets mediocre reviews in the New York Times movie reviews. Actually it's quite compelling, and far more inviting a story about sixth sense powers than many more important, and expensive productions. I feel that it is close to Robinson's most sympathetic role, and the conclusion of the film certainly makes it almost Shakespearean in it's tragic denouement.
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