6.5/10
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The Public Eye (1992)

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Story of a 1940s photographer who specializes in crime and in not getting involved... until this time.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Officer O'Brien
Bryan Travis Smith ...
Young Cop
...
Teen at Thompson Street
...
Thompson Street Photographer
...
Puerto Rican Woman
Chuck Gillespie ...
Cop at Puerto Rican Tenement
...
Ambulance Attendant (as Christian Stolti)
Jack Denbo ...
Photo Editor
Ellen McElduff ...
Lonely Woman at Drugstore
Marge Kotlisky ...
Rineman's Receptionist
Timothy Hendrickson ...
Richard Rineman
...
H.R. Rineman
Henry Bolzon ...
Cafe Society Photographer
...
Danny the Doorman
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Storyline

Leon Bernstein is New York's best news photographer in 1942, equally at home with cops or crooks. The pictures are often of death and pain, but they are the ones the others wish they had got. Then glamorous Kay Levitz turns to him when the Mob seem to be muscling in on the club she owns due to some arrangement with her late husband. Bernstein, none too successful with women, agrees to help, saying there may be some good photos in it for him. In fact, he is falling in love with Kay. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Murder. Scandal. Crime. No matter what he was shooting, "The Great Bernzini" never took sides, he only took pictures... Except once. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 October 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Testemunha Ocular  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$3,067,917 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Bernzy was inspired by real-life photographer Arthur 'Weegee' Fellig, and some of Bernzy's photos are in fact Fellig's. See more »

Goofs

Burnsey's 35mm camera is either an Exakta V or VX. Those models were introduced in 1950 and 1951, respectively, and would not have been available during the 1940's. See more »

Quotes

Kay Levitz: It doesn't matter what people say unless you believe them.
See more »

Connections

References Joy of Living (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

You Can't Say No to a Soldier
(1942)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Performed by Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Sandy Hook Records
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User Reviews

 
An under-rated film
30 April 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Joe Pesci plays the role of Leon "The Great Bernzini" Bernstein with accomplishment, as a kind of grubby, middle-aged everyman. Barbara Hershey, 44 when she made this movie, makes the screen sizzle by her mere presence as Kay Levitz. Pesci probably should have gotten an Oscar nomination for this performance, which is understated, sincere, and totally convincing. Some of the bit actors turn in good, solid performances with only a line or two.

The movie itself is heavy handed in spots, but director Franklin has written a number of movies and has a good ear for dialog. The mood of the piece is beautifully created and handled; camera work, lighting and music creating a real experience. The use of black and white sequences and inter-cutting of still photography is wonderfully handled. Maybe only a photographer can really appreciate the way Bernzini looks at the world as a photograph waiting to happen. People who are not willing to surrender to the experience of a movie will have less of a reaction to it.

The story is classic film noir, and more remarkable for being based on true events; blending together the great photographer Weegee (many of his photographs are actually used in the movie) and a gas-coupon scandal from the early days of American involvement in WWII. But, having said that, one misses the haunting quality this film conveys.


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