Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948) Poster

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8/10
Intriguing film noir with Robinson and Russell
James J Cremin19 April 2008
According to "The Films of Edward G. Robinson", this entry in the 2008 Film Noir Series at the Egyptian on April 18, was pretty much dismissed by critics and the star itself. After all, this came right after his masterful performance in John Huston's "Key Largo", for which he teamed up with Humphrey Bogart for the last time. This film barely shows up in Gail Russell's bio, who's probably best known as John Wayne's co-star in "Angel and the Badman", the first time he utters "pilgrim", as that was what she played. However, "Night" did generally get a positive response with modern audiences. Director John Farrow, father of Mia, provided a good atmosphere and generally kept the narrative at the good pace. It begins with John Lund, the third name above the title, saving Russell from suicide. From there, they meet Robinson at a restaurant and who has already ordered exactly what they want. Then, he tells in flashback that he actually knew her parents quite well. As played by Virginia Bruce and Jerome Cowan, hey manage his clairvoyant act in which he actually gets glimpses of the future. In fact, he actually quits when an unfortunate event happens that I won't give away. Where he retires to is of special notice to old time Angeleno fans. He's seen going to his Bunker Hill residence from taking Angel's Flight. It is from there he brings the audience back to the present. Of special interest among the cast is William Demarest, who appeared in just about every Preston Sturges comedy during this time period. Playing straight, he's nevertheless is quite comical as the dumb police detective. The ending is actually quite well written. It has an intriguing twist and some of the best prose Robinson's voice was ever given to speak. A great film noir.
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Engrossing Drama
harry-7610 June 2004
"The Night has a Thousand Eyes" is a most engaging drama, with Edward G. Robinson giving his all to the role of a clairvoyant. A wonderful Robinson performance. Gail Russell is seen in one of her best film appearances. John Lund is well cast as Russell's doubting but supportive love interest.

The atmosphere created here has an almost hypnotic effect. Robinson is completely into his role and totally convincing.

That this film has not yet to date made it on video is incredible. Of all the lesser films that did so, this movie warrants attention. Paramount Pictures [us]--please take note.
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8/10
The spirit of Woolrich. Can you feel it ?
Sergeant-43 October 2000
A jewel in the rough. A small little movie with a great Edward G. Robinson. The loneliness of Triton is played with a big intensity by him. Story, actors and shooting of the film is both, film noir and drama of loneliness and being lost, quite as it is Woolrich's credo in a lot of his novels and screen adaptations. This is one of its best. Eight points.
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A Woolrich Nightmare
theowinthrop2 December 2004
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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8/10
A man discovers he has the gift or the curse of forseeing the future.
the lioness14 December 2001
I've seen this film only once & loved it! It shows just how versitile of an actor Robinson really was.

It tells the story of a man who discovers he really has the ability to see into the future. He becomes a recluse out of the fear that his predictions always come true. That same fear brings him out of reclusion when he seeks out the daughter of a woman he once loved to warn her of impending danger.

The only thing I dislike about this film? It never made it to video. For anyone that would like to see this film's plot, I recommend "The Clarivoyant" with Claude Rains.
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10/10
a long time favorite
edward-miller-121 June 2003
I saw this on New York television as an impressionable thirteen year old in the early sixties. It's been on my top ten list of favorites ever since. Not only the expected intelligent, riveting performance from Robinson, but a touching, foreboding one from the luminous and tragic Gail Russell. This is my favorite Russell performance, followed by The Uninvited and Moonrise. What a waste that her life and talent was snuffed out at 36!
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8/10
Man on top of the train
dbdumonteil20 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
William Irish aka George Hopley aka Cornell Woolrich (the latter appearing in the cast and credits,his real name) loved the subject so much that not only he wrote a short story but he also wrote a whole novel ,with the same characters .People complained that John Farrow sacrificed psychology to the plot.But it was not Woolrich's forte.His characters elude him,they are puppets ,not in his hands ,but in the hands of fate .This is his most revealing book:he did believe in the power of the stars (one of his short stories,one of his most desperate was called "no moon ,no stars"),he did believe that man's destiny is written before he lives and that he can't change it;the users who know about his miserable life remember that he spent his whole existence in a hotel room;he was gay but the only love he got was from his mother;he ended his life a disabled man ,diabetes leading to gangrene .

John Farrow modified the book ,but he remained faithful to Woolrich's spirit;in the novel,it's the father of the girl who has got to die in a lion's jaws .Read it,even if you watched the movie,cause Woolrich's sense of tragedy has no equal in the Roman Noir.Only the ending is a bit embarrassing ,being somewhat contrived and adding a wrong track which weakened the intense emotion :too bad they did not keep the final lines between the girl and her friend.

The opening scene on the railroad track can rival with the best films Noirs of the forties/early fifties,like those of Robert Siodmak (who took Woolrich's "phantom lady" to the screen) and Mitchell Leisen (whose "no man of her own" is a thousand times better than the pitiful FRench attempt called "J'Ai Epousé Une Ombre" ).Gail Russel,a relatively obscure actress has wonderful eyes which the director films in the scene in the car as bright as two stars in the night.

The-man-who-can-predict-future was a secondary character in the book ,but Edward G.Robinson made it a winner;he added a guilt feeling ,which overwhelmed him and his performance was extraordinary all along the way;this part was tailor -made for him:remember Lang's "woman in the window" ,Duvivier' s "flesh and fantasy" or Siodmak's "the strange affair of Uncle Harry",all tormented characters who have perhaps done nothing and who are feeling guilt.

A lot of bizarre details (the cushion,the gun which doesn't shoot,the flower under the shoe,the little boy on the street ,the strange music hall -a scene not unlike the contemporary adventure of Tintin:"Les Sept Boules DE Cristal") create a heavy atmosphere devoid of any providence.
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9/10
I definitely liked this picture
edmc24162 February 2006
This picture clearly is a classic noir picture. It is deadly serious, almost depressing. The Edward G. Robinson character is well-defined. His sadness and guilt over his "gift" is quite convincing. He is a man torn by his ability to foresee tragic events. His face is often contorted and Robinson's craggy face further emphasizes his angst. His raspy voice further emphasizes his sadness. The role is a tour de force for Robinson (who often portrays this type of internally focused, incredibly gnarled individuals). The role reminds me a bit of his portrayal of Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity - the little man who agonizes over the death of Dietrichson. Unfortunately, there is no femme fatale. Gail Russell is saccharine sweet, although prettier than in some of her other noir roles.
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10/10
A Haunting Tale of Suspense
dugfowlr7 December 1999
I saw this movie as a 16 year old, and have only seen it once since, but I found it to be a spooky and suspenseful tale. Edward G. Robinson does his usual superb job of acting, and I liked Gail Russell in it very much.
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10/10
Moody masterpiece
tomsview10 May 2014
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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5/10
New and unwanted abilities
bkoganbing6 August 2013
Edward G. Robinson was not fond of this film. In his posthumous unfinished memoirs he said of Night Has A Thousand Eyes he said it was pure hokum. Robinson did this one as Burt Lancaster used to say 'for the poke'.

I don't think it was all that bad, but definitely could have used room for improvement. Sweethearts John Lund and Gail Russell seek out Robinson who was an old friend of her parents. Back in the day all three were involved in a phony mind reading act when Robinson started showing psychic powers for real. A tip on a horse and another tip on a burgeoning oil field made Russell's father Jerome Cowan a rich man. Robinson who is scared of these new and unwanted abilities just leaves it all to go into obscurity leaving Cowan to marry Virginia Bruce who dies in childbirth bearing Russell as Robinson predicted.

Now however Russell is feeling strangely threatened and seeks out Robinson. After this however the plot gets truly muddled.

The first half of the film is the best and the second half bad, so much so you would think it was two different films spliced together. Some mediocre directing is compensated for by the performances of Robinson and Russell. For Gail it was more of the same as she did in The Uninvited.

Fans of both of these players will probably like it more than Edward G. Robinson apparently did.
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7/10
"The Crystal Ball Syndrome."
Robert J. Maxwell29 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
File the case under "X". In this rather well done film, Edward G. Robinson is one of those night club "mind readers" who tells the audience things about themselves with the help of an associate who plays clues at the piano. By the way, one of the customers that he stuns with his amazing but phony powers is a pretty young lady named Agnes. Agnes has only one line but she became the mother of Sally Field, the flying nun. Few people are aware of this portentous datum (outside the Field family) but I pass it on to you as an act of personal generosity. That will be fifteen cents.

The first half is kind of interesting. Robinson is wheeling through his fakery when he's interrupted by a sudden vision. He urgently sends an audience member home because her house is on fire. After the show his puzzled assistants ask what it was all about and Robinson dismisses it as a passing thought he'd had, and after all what difference does it make? Later they find that the house really WAS on fire and a child was barely saved. Robinson is troubled but his partners aren't.

Eventually he leaves the act, holes up for twenty years, and reappears in time to save a girl who might well have been his own daughter except for an act of self sacrifice. The girl is Gail Russell and she's well worth saving. Russell was plucked out of a local high school because of her looks, hurriedly given a few acting lessons and thrust before the cameras. But she was self conscious and terrified of appearing in the movies, took to drinking to steady her nerves, wrecked her life, and died in her mid-30s, desolate. Any wrecked life is a misfortune but in her case it was a little more than that because she was almost infinitely appealing -- not gorgeous by Hollywood standards, but, with her tentative girlish voice, her mane of curly black hair, and her pale blue eyes, she radiated a combination of vulnerability and sex appeal. In this film she winds up with John Lund, which may have been a milestone along her downward trajectory -- or maybe the cause of it.

Robinson turns in a competent and thoroughly professional performance as the showman who changes from a free-wheeling bankrupt into a man genuinely tormented by the possibility that he himself -- through his visions -- is somehow CAUSING the disasters he predicts.

I'm not going through the plot because, if the first half is simple and neat, the second half has a loopy logic and turns into a high-budget Charlie Chan mystery. Well, I'll give one example. Robinson has had a vision of Russell being murdered under the stars (the titular "thousand eyes") at eleven o'clock at night. He's taken seriously enough that the police have guards all around her mansion. She's also attended by some skeptical business managers of her estate. The rooms are guarded, the doors locked, and all that. The tension increases as eleven o'clock approaches. At about fifteen minutes before eleven, a hand reaches slowly from behind a curtain and moves the time on the grandfather clock ahead by ten minutes. When the clock strikes eleven, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Whew. It's now past eleven and Russell still breathes. Of course the REAL eleven o'clock hasn't yet got here. So when the relaxed Russell wanders out alone into the garden a few minutes later, she's attacked by the murderer, who is a person of no significance whatever to the plot and who is just trying to stop a business deal from going through.

Okay. So why did the murderer move the hands of the clock ahead? Why didn't he wait until the REAL eleven o'clock had come and gone. After all, what the hell does HE care about what time he murders Russell? This is Charlie Chan territory.

But I enjoyed it. The hint of the supernatural is always fascinating. As Robinson observes, we've all felt something similar at one time or another -- we know who's on the phone before we pick it up, or we enter a strange room and we're certain we've been there before. And Robinson may be right about it. It was about twenty years ago that the American Association for the Advancement of Science finally added a Section H, covering paranormal phenomena. Who knows?
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The View From Atop The Train
dougdoepke6 February 2013
The movie's a riveting excursion into the occult. In fact, the production pulls off the difficult trick of making occult happenings seem almost plausible, something Hollywood rarely cares about doing. Robinson's turn is first-rate as a stage magician suddenly burdened with the power of pre-cognition. Watching Triton (Robinson) slowly succumb to the terrible reality of foreseeing the future amounts to a dramatic triumph. He has no control over these pre- visions and they're almost always of dark happenings, especially when involving the sweetly vulnerable Jean Courtland (Russell). The climax is a stunner as the clues to Jean's bleak future slowly come true, while there seems no alternative to fate having its evil way.

This is one of the darkest of noirs, both literally and figuratively. Generally, the lighting is too shadowy to catch the ethereal Russell's pale blue eyes, a feature that would have added to the overall mood. It's also nicely ironic that the real occult would step into the life of a magician who only pretends to conjure other dimensions for the delight of paying audiences. It's like a punishment for presuming to toy with the surreal. I also like the way others remain militantly skeptical since that would be a natural reaction.

In my book, the movie's clearly underrated by the professionals and I'm not sure why. If the production's got an overriding flaw, I can't find it, though I could have done with less of the theramin whose eerie sound is like gravy on soup. Nonetheless, for me, the overall result is one of the best to deal with a topic that's usually made hokey as heck by Hollywood, and that's besides having one of the most intriguing titles in movie annals.
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8/10
The Mental Wizard Curse.
Spikeopath30 November 2012
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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8/10
There's no danger now
Alex da Silva1 March 2011
Triton (Edward G Robinson) has the gift of 2nd sight. He withdraws from life as his ability to foresee the future can be disturbing, especially when he sees people die. This happens on a few occasions but when he meets with his ex-partner's daughter Jean (Gail Russell), we have a countdown to her imminent death before the week is over. The place she will die is "under the stars".

This film has a good story and a good cast. Elliott (John Lund) is pretty annoying as a doubter but by the end of the film he has changed his tune. The film starts well with a suicide attempt and we are then taken back in time through flashback sequences to understand the characters before returning to the present as we wait for the death of Jean. There are some omens we are told to look out for - a trampled flower, a gust of wind, a broken vase, lion's feet, some spoken words - and sure enough, they all come true until we arrive at the moment of death - 11pm.

William Demarest has some funny lines as "Lt Shawn", the policeman in charge of stopping the tragedy from happening and the story is cleverly tied up. I wasn't too convinced by Gail Russell's ability to negotiate business deals - she seems far too fragile a character to be involved in the hard-edged corporate world. But so what. It's a good film.
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8/10
John Triton never seems to "see" anything good in the future does he?.
calvinnme19 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The first scene is Elliott Carson (John Lund) rescuing his fiancée, Jean Courtland (Gail Russell) from committing suicide - he was told where and how by John Triton. He takes her into a nearby café where John Triton (Edward G. Robinson) is sitting at one of the café tables. Elliot assumes because of Jean's wealth that Triton is part of some kind of con game. Triton then begins his story in flashback. Years before he had a vaudeville act in which he pretended to be one who could see the future. As he says, "it was a phony act, but it was a first-class phony act". Then one night in the middle of a show he has his first real premonition and tells one particular woman that her child is in danger and she must run home. Another time he is talking to a little boy behind the theater and has a premonition that he will be run over by a car. He says something to change the boys plans - he gives him free tickets to the show. The boy says he needs to go tell his mom and, of course, he's run over by a car anyways. Meanwhile his - let us be kind and just call him "less deep and thoughtful" - colleague, Whitney Courtland (Jerome Cowan), is using John's ability to make a fortune in finance.

Meanwhile John is haunted by the bad premonitions he is getting about which he can do nothing. The last is the worst though. He sees the future of his love, Jenny (Virginia Bruce). In his premonition the two marry, there is a child, the child lives but Jenny dies. So one night he clears out and decides to become a recluse. If he doesn't talk to anyone he can't see their bad end which he can't seem to change anyways. He knows Whitney will take care of Jenny, and he does. The two marry, have a child, and just as in his premonition, Jenny dies in childbirth. Gail Russell's character, Jean, is the daughter that would have been his, so he does keep track of her over the years. He moves to L.A. just to be in the same town as she and her dad. And then the trouble starts again. First he gets a premonition about Whitney's death when he hears about him trying to break a flight record. Thus he chances meeting Jenny's daughter Jean and warns her about the premonition he has. She tries contacting her dad, but it's too late. His plane has cracked up and Whitney is dead. Then John gets a premonition about Jean's death "under the stars", and we are back to the present, in the café.

John wants to retreat back into his little world, but not until he can finally save someone, and not just anyone. He wants to save the daughter that might have been his had things been different. Of course now he has the suspicious fiancé to contend with along with the police whom the fiancé calls who say they found foul play involved in the crack up of Whitney's plane and suspect John as being part of some conspiracy plus they think he could be a little nuts and have the police psychiatrists examining him. Meanwhile Jean is in danger and is being guarded by skeptics. How will this all pan out? Watch and find out.

Edward G. Robinson plays the melancholy clairvoyant just brilliantly as you can see how this supposed gift is weighing him down. Like Peter Boyle in the X-Files episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", a gift is not much of a gift if all it does is give you visions of pain and death you can't seem to change. It is a very gloomy film from the start with the atmosphere of a noir, but not with the kinds of characters and situations normally associated with noir. Highly recommended.
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7/10
The ayes have it
kapelusznik1830 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS**** Eddie Robinson, or Edward G. as he's known to his friends, as psychic John Triton has had these strange visions since back in 1928 that had turned his life upside down. The visions reveal the future to Triton in the most upsetting and frightening ways. Quitting his act as psychic "Triton the Magnificent" when he realized that he in fact did have psychic powers Triton has been living in the wilderness away from civilization in the slum drastic of Los Angeles for some time. That until he ran into both Jean Courtland and her pop Whitney, Gail Russell & Jerome Cowam, at a local L.A fund raising dinner and all of a sudden all these strange and terrifying visions started to come back to him. This lead to Jean attempting to kill herself by jumping in from of a speeding locomotive which her fiancée Elliott Carson, John Lund, saved her from doing.

We soon learn that all of Triton's troubles started when he was working on stage as a psychic with both Jean's parents Whitney & Jenny, Virginia Bruce, Courtland some 20 years ago. It was then that Triton suddenly developed these psychic powers in seeing the future that completely freaked him out. Now seeing what's in store for Jean he's doing his best to prevent that from happening. The story is a long one but it's all about Whitney's involvement in the oil business. Having made millions over the years he now wants to cash in his chips, or oil interests, but there's someone behind the scenes that's trying to prevent him from doing it. Going so far in fixing his plane to make sure that Whitney end up crashing in it on his coast to coast flight from NY to LA. And it's Triton who foresaw that and couldn't prevent it from happening. Now the very same person is trying to murder Whitney's daughter Jean to keep her from inheriting her father's millions so that he, by both father and daughter dead, can get his hands on it!

****SPOILERS*** No matter how accurate Triton's predictions are the police lead by Let. Shawn, William Demarest, feel that he's a phony and in fact is the one trying to murder Jean to get his hands on her father's money. This goes on throughout the entire movie until his predictions about her and who's behind her father's murder comes true with devastating accuracy! And it also ends up killing Triton in the process. A fact that Triton knew all along but kept from the police as well as himself ! In one of his most unusual roles Edward G. Robinson gives a realistic performance as psychic John Triton that knocks everyones socks off. He's so convincing as a man who can see the future that even his biggest detractors soon realize that there's something to his strange predictions even when there's no logic to them. Like at the very end the one about Jean's impending death, in being killed by an escaped lion, that's so on target that even the not so convinced Let. Shawn, who thought the guy was full of it, had to grudgingly admit that he's the real deal.
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8/10
Edward G. Robinson in his element
JohnHowardReid10 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Edward G. Robinson (John Triton), Gail Russell (Jean Courtland), John Lund (Elliott Carson), William Demarest (Shawn), Virginia Bruce (Jenny), Jerome Cowan (Whitney Courtland), Richard Webb (Peter Vinson), Onslow Stevens (Dr Walters), Luis Van Rooten (Myers), John Alexander (Golman), Roman Bohnen (Weston).

Director: JOHN FARROW. Screenplay: Jonathan Latimer, Barré Lyndon from the 1945 novel by Cornell Woolrich. Photography: John F. Seitz. Film editor: Eda Warren. Music: Victor Young. Art director: Hans Dreier and Franz Bachelin. Costumes: Edith Head. Producer: Endre Bohem.

Copyright and U.S. release 22 October 1948 by Paramount. Released 4 October 1948 (U.K.), 4 November 1948 (Australia). 7,307 feet. 81 minutes.

COMMENT: The film noir revival has brought some of John Farrow's films back into focus. Due to a somewhat hokey script (the killer's identity is not only obvious but motives did not convince me) and a discordantly "comic" performance by William Demarest, this one is not half as interesting as The Big Clock, Alias Nick Beal or Plunder of the Sun.

But nonetheless, the movie does present Edward G. Robinson, perfectly cast as the troubled Triton who could foretell the future but had neither the power to forestall it nor "change evil into good."

Gail Russell is also immaculately cast and, aside from William Demarest (who is usually quite good but misses the bus here), the rest of the players do solid work.
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8/10
A Tale Of One Man's Personal Hell
seymourblack-110 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This decidedly creepy screen adaptation of Cornell Woolrich's novel of the same name is offbeat and gripping right from the start. Its story of a man who's troubled by his ability to foresee the future, becomes increasingly distressing as his unwanted talent gradually destroys his life and fills him with guilt about the tragedies that he sees in his "visions". Sadly, because his visions can't be controlled and no-one can change the hand of fate, there seems to be no way out of this man's personal Hell.

Suicidal heiress Jean Courtland (Gail Russell) is standing on a bridge, poised to leap in front of an on-coming train, when her fiancé Elliott Carson (John Lund) suddenly appears and prevents her from jumping. When the young couple retreat to a nearby café and meet up with the man who'd saved Jean's life by alerting Elliott to the danger that she was in, their conversation proves to be very enlightening.

John Triton (Edward G Robinson) explains that twenty years earlier, he and Jean's parents, Whitney (Jerome Cowan) and Jenny (Virginia Bruce), had been partners in a touring vaudeville act in which he was a phoney mind-reader, his best friend Whitney played the piano and his fiancée Jenny was the glamorous assistant. During this period, John started to have visions that proved to be accurate predictions of future events and Whitney capitalised on this by using John's tips to prosper through gambling and playing the stock market. One night when they were all on stage together, John became terribly upset and had to bring the performance to a sudden end when he had a vision of Jenny, after their marriage, dying in childbirth. In order to prevent this premonition from becoming a reality and without telling his partners what he'd "seen", he decided to leave the act and simply disappear (but not before giving Whitney some advice about making an investment in an oil business).

John became a recluse and after some time had passed with no word from him, Whitney and Jenny married but Jenny subsequently died in childbirth. John went on to live a very quiet and lonely life in the Bunker Hill district of L.A. until a short time before Jean's suicide attempt, when he contacted her because he'd had a vision of Whitney dying in a plane crash. Jean's efforts to contact her father proved unsuccessful and as predicted, he perished in the wreckage of his plane.

Elliott is very sceptical and thinks that John's a charlatan working on some sort of scam to get his hands on Jean's money but Jean trusts him implicitly. This is because she remembers how fondly her father had spoken of his best friend and his impressive psychic powers. John then becomes distraught after having a vision in which he foresees Jean's death and despite the apparent futility of the idea, becomes absolutely determined to prevent her demise.

This moody thriller has a strange mesmeric quality and a level of tension that grows steadily with each new development. Its ominous atmosphere is beautifully complemented by Victor Young's effective score and John F Seitz's top class cinematography, but it's the knockout performance by Edward G Robinson that provides the real icing on the cake. His tragic character sums up his predicament at one point when he says that "this gift which I never asked for and don't understand has brought me only unhappiness". Having lost the love of his life and his best friend because of his gift and being condemned to a life of isolation and loneliness , he then gets openly disrespected by most people who think he's a fraud or a criminal and knows that all he faces in the future is the unending torment that he'll inevitably experience until his own demise.

What Robinson captures so brilliantly is John Triton's innate decency as well as the melancholia that has understandably engulfed him as a result of his experiences. The supporting cast is also consistently good with Gail Russell standing out as a great choice for her role because her appearance and deportment make her privileged but troubled character so convincing.
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7/10
Crystal Balls
writers_reign12 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Yet another Cornell Woolrich/William Irish off-the-wall yarn makes it to the screen. Apparently Eddy Robinson was scornful about this but that didn't prevent him taking on another Woollrich/Irish yarn eight years later with Nightmare. As it happens Robinson turns in a solid, convincing performance as the scamming mentalist who finds he really does have second sight, though it could be argued it's not hard to shine playing opposite Mr. Mahogany, John Lund, who keeps littering the set with sawdust. The female lead is the terminally lovely and ultimately tragic Gail Russell, who is given little to do but look desperate and carries it off to a fare-thee-well. John Farrow provides lots of atmosphere from the right bottle. Recommended.
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9/10
Edward G. Robinson in perhaps his most interesting and personal performance as a victim of his own second sight
clanciai13 December 2016
This is paranormal, paraphysical and parapsychological but extremely well written, and Edward G. Robinson makes one of his most memorable performances as a con man discovering to his dismay that he actually has real powers to foresee events and tries to escape his own destiny of getting involved in them. It's a very moral tale about the vanity and impossibility of even trying to avoid your destiny, but Robinson makes a heroic effort, actually trying to save the lives of others by using his second sight to fool destiny, but he gets fooled by it instead. It's very tragic, but the tragedy is hidden, you never see a drop of blood or any corpses although there are a number of casualties in the process, but still the end comes as a surprising shock to everyone including the ultimate victim. This is a film that has to be seen more than once in order to get clear about all the details, which must seem about too much and somewhat confusing the first time - you tend to be as incredulous as John Lund. Robinson is always interesting, all his films are worth seeing and again, but here he somewhat expresses something of the core of his own kismet - he had some troubles himself with his fate.
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8/10
Good If a Little Downbeat Film
JLRMovieReviews16 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Edward G. Robinson lends some dignity to "Night Has a Thousand Eyes," which concerns a fake psychic, who reads peoples' minds and answers their questions about love and happiness, but the psychic soon discovers he has strange premonitions about people dying. These premonitions come true. We open on Gail Russell, running at night paranoid of being watched and about to end her life, but John Lund saves her. The film's story is told by way of flashbacks in the beginning as to how Edward knew her father and how Edward affects her life. A mystery soon develops, as her father dies from a plane crash (which he predicted) but the plane had been sabotaged. Edward is trying to help Gail find the killer, but the police suspect him. The main criticism of the film is that it has a depressing and foreboding sense of doom which bogs the film down too much, making it feel rather heavy-handed. But director John Farrow gives it grade-A production values, and Robinson is always good in everything he does and he makes this more of must-see movie experience with him than it would be without him. By the end, you'll probably be impressed with him but a little depressed, considering the ending
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One of the best movies I have every seen... Edward G. Roberson is timeless
dwandad17 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I noticed many of the reviewers saw this film in their early teens. I also saw this movie when I was about twelve years old and I never forgot it. Actually, the film has haunted me since then; I am now almost 55 years old. I researched the internet just to find this movie. I of course did not remember the name of the file, but I remember Edward G. Roberson's performance. Someone wrote the film is not on video. I hope this is not true. I have to find this film. I will write AMC and ask them if they have the video. Good to see so many folks love good performances and recognize EGR's genius. EGR's presence in this film is truly astounding and I cannot get it out of my head. I always have enjoyed his work as most of those in my age group do. I love real gangster films Bogart Edward G ruled back in the day. But what a change and true showing of range to see him play a sensitive moody soul with a talent for which many would kill. His vulnerability and inner turmoil are to state the obvious unforgettable. I must find this film.
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7/10
Seeing the future can be hazardous
nomoons116 January 2013
Once again Edward G. Robinson turns a basic ordinary story into something very watchable....and suspenseful.

A former magic act sees things happen to people in the future. He then realizes that these things all happen. 20 years after his magic act has ended he sees a vision of a former friend and it's not a good one. He goes to tell his friend's daughter and the next day...it comes true. That same night she comes to visit him and he sees her death is....imminent. From this we get the suspense and a lot of it. Who's gonna get her?

This is a very suspense laden film. Edward G. plays the former magic man/mystic very well and you will believe everything he says. He had a way of turning any average film into something you remember for a few days...and not a few hours after you see it.

This is a really creepy little film to look out for. Jump on this one if you get a chance and tell me I'm wrong.
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