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>
Gail Russell's car, a Chrysler convertible, is shown entering her driveway, and the license plate "40 R 116" is visible. In the film SUNSET BOULEVARD, William Holden's car, a Plymouth convertible, is described by Finance Man #2 as a "1946 Plymouth convertible, California license 40 R 116" See more »
John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard':
[to Jean and Elliott]
I, uh, suppose that most people when they're looking back can see the exact point where their lives are touched by something... a new job, an unexpected inheritance, a quick decision, but I can't. My destiny came upon me... imperceptibly like
[Indicating with his finger]
John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard':
the first thin drops of rain are noticed on a window pane. It wasn't until the third or fourth or fifth drops that I became aware of this rain that was to engulf my life. I remember the date, August 3, 1928....
[...] See more »
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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