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Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | 22 October 1948 (USA)
When phony stage mentalist Triton mysteriously acquires supernatural powers of precognition, he becomes frightened and abandons his act to live of anonymity.


John Farrow


Barré Lyndon (screenplay), Jonathan Latimer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... John Triton
Gail Russell ... Jean Courtland
John Lund ... Elliott Carson
Virginia Bruce ... Jenny
William Demarest ... Lieut. Shawn
Richard Webb ... Peter Vinson
Jerome Cowan ... Whitney Courtland
Onslow Stevens ... Dr. Walters (as Onslow Stevenson)
John Alexander ... Mr. Gilman
Roman Bohnen ... Melville Weston - Special Prosecutor
Luis Van Rooten Luis Van Rooten ... Mr. Myers
Henry Guttman Henry Guttman ... Butler
Mary Adams ... Miss Hendricks - Housekeeper
Douglas Spencer ... Dr. Ramsdell


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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WHY Did He disappear...While Their Kisses Still Burned With Courtship's Fire? See more »


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Release Date:

22 October 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Noite Tem Mil Olhos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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. A popular favorite among local television audiences, it was first telecast both in Philadelphia on WCAU (Channel 10) and in Chicago on WBBM (Channel 2) Wednesday 7 January 1959, in St. Louis Thursday 8 January 1959 on KMOX (Channel 4) and in New York City Wednesday 28 January 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2). In first aired in Milwaukee 5 April 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), in Phoenix 21 May 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), in Seattle 23 July 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), in Omaha 1 October 1959 on KETV (Channel 7), in Johnstown 1 December 1959 on WJAC (Channel 6), in Asheville 30 December 1959 on WLOS (Channel 13), in Pittsburgh 9 April 1960 on KDKA (Channel 2), and in Minneapolis 30 August 1960 on WTCN (Channel 11). See more »


John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard': This gift, which I never asked for and don't understand, has brought me only unhappiness!
See more »


Referenced in Pieces (1982) See more »


The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
By Buddy Bernier and Jerry Brainin
[Performed as a rhumba by an unknown ensemble as background music of a party scene]
See more »

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User Reviews

Moody masterpiece
10 May 2014 | by tomsviewSee all my reviews

I can't think of a film from any era that has a more captivatingly mysterious mood than this film. Ever since I saw it on TV in the early 60's, I've never forgotten it.

John Triton (Edward G Robinson) is a clairvoyant with a phony act who begins to realize that he can predict the future for real. However, he feels this gift is more of a curse because, although he knows what will happen, he is never able to reverse the outcome.

A troubled man, he withdraws into anonymity for 20 years. He returns when he predicts the death of an old friend, and then that of the man's daughter, Jean Courtland (Gail Russell). Eventually he tries to alter the course of the prediction, which also portends his own death.

The seductive style of this film, told for much of its length in flashback, is due to inspired choices in script, direction, photography and music, and of course to Cornell Woolwich's original novel, although most of his plot and characters were jettisoned. What the film did retain was the novel's all-pervading mood. Like other films based on Woolwich's stories such as "Rear Window" and "Original Sin", not much beyond the original idea was ever retained.

Most importantly, "Night Has a Thousand Eyes" has actors who draw you into the story and hold you there. As the story unfolds you feel that Edward G Robinson's character has gained painful wisdom - he is infinitely patient with all his doubters. Robinson is the focal point of the story and his mellifluous narration sweeps us along.

The other person who gives this film depth is the beautiful and ethereal Gail Russell as Jean Courtland. Her performance has added poignancy when you know of the star's real fate - she died at 36 from self-doubt as much as from anything else. She always seemed to project a sense of sadness in her films. What a presence she had; she was always good, but especially so here.

Look how much mood is generated with all the references to the stars above; John Triton predicts that Jean " will die at night, under the stars." Jean becomes haunted by the thought and feels the stars are, "Like a thousand eyes. Watching!" Although there are only a couple of shots of star-studded skies in the film, much of the story is set at night and we feel the presence of the stars all the time. Adding to the sense of something beyond the tangible is Victor Young's velvety score.

The film has a measured pace, particularly Gail Russell and Edward G Robinson's delivery. Expatriate Australian director, John Farrow (Mia's dad), directed the film and much of its style must be down to him. The film was shot mainly on studio sets except for a very effective sequence in San Francisco.

Odd that this film has been so hard to track down, it is simply one of the best of its kind, and is impossible to forget.

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