Reel Classics

Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948) - Blu-ray Review

Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948)

Think it’s just the rainy day blues that has this mind reader down in the dumps?  Think again.  Based on a Cornell Woolrich novel, Night Has A Thousand Eyes might be classic B-movie material (due to its supernatural sources), but the film is both poetic and engaging as one mind reader discovers that his gift is truly bringing down the curtain on the people he loves in his own life, which makes it a REEL CLASSIC worthy of you checking out. 

"...extremely disturbing.  There’s not a smile to be found in this fatalistic and moody slice of film noir pie."


And he wants nothing to do with a fate he can't prevent.

If the dramatic opening, full of tall shadows and plenty of steam, in the train depot in which a panicked young woman attempts to kill herself by jumping into the path of an oncoming train doesn’t get your attention, little else in Night Has A Thousand Eyes will.  This smoothly-paced offering of film noir mystery has it all: hypnotism, dark happenings, and a solid performance from Edward G. Robinson as a theatrical mentalist who tries to outrun his own gift of mind reading and seeing the future.

But it’s not with Robinson where we begin. This is his story, but the frame device has us easing on into his narrative via backstory.  Thankfully, the crackling cinematography of John F. Seitz keeps this thriller a spellbinding affair, even if a large portion of it is told with a long conversation as we see just how this mentalist determined that his act was over.

In Night Has A Thousand Eyes, the opening hook is with Jean, the possessed young heiress (Gail Russell), who is saved suddenly by her boyfriend (John Lund), who casts quite the dynamic pose as the steam and smoke of the train yard swirls around him.  It is with the young woman and her boyfriend where we stay and it is his search for the reasons of her suicidal tendencies which leads him to the the fatalistic John Triton (Robinson) and this mind reader has something to say.Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948)

He weaves a tale of woe as his premonitions begin to come true for the people he loves.  No longer just for audience members, he finds that even his friends aren’t listening to him, nor he is able to prevent what he sees happening to them.  Triton is a victim of his own gift of seeing the future.  He’s been used by his business partner (Jerome Cowan, The Maltese Falcon), who has exploited his second sight by making profits from ventures and gambling, but he is still a friend. 

And even his death he can't prevent, so what is his connection to Jean?  Listen in and lean closer, my friend.  Night Has A Thousand Eyes is extremely disturbing.  There’s not a smile to be found in this fatalistic and moody slice of film noir pie and thanks to Robinson’s on-point performance and the steely-eyed direction of John Farrow (The Big Clock, Five Came Back), who keeps the backstory fluid and absolutely captivating, it dazzles us with its story from beginning to its startling end.

Night Has A Thousand Eyes is now on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics’ brand-new 2K master.   Confidence scam or the real deal?  You decide.

4/5 stars

 

Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- November 16, 2021
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

From John Farrow, the acclaimed director of Five Came Back, Wake Island, The Big Clock, Alias Nick Beal and Hondo, comes this supernatural film noir about a tormented magician played by Hollywood great Edward G. Robinson (Scarlet Street). When heiress Jean Courtland (Gail Russell, Calcutta) attempts suicide, her fiancé Elliott Carson (John Lund, A Foreign Affair) probes her relationship to stage mentalist John Triton (Robinson). In flashback, we see how Triton starts having terrifying flashes of true precognition. His partner, Whitney Courtland (Jerome Cowan, The Maltese Falcon), 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? Noir stalwarts Barré Lyndon (The Lodger) and Jonathan Latimer (The Glass Key) penned the screenplay based on the novel by master of suspense Cornell Woolrich (Rear Window).

Video

With a crisp black-and-white transfer in 2K, Night Has A Thousand Eyes lands on blu-ray thanks to the crackling efforts of Kino Lorber Studio Classics.  Shadows, while not too terribly detailed, are thick and atmospheric throughout. That opening?  WOW.  The details in the train yard absolutely POP. Presented with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, the film looks marvelous and easily beats the poor appearance on television and on home video DVD that has previously dogged it. The blacks and grays are handled expertly by the transfer.  

Audio

Bang! Bang! Bang!  Shots are fired on the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which accompanies this forgotten film noir classic.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Special Features:

Fans of this REEL CLASSIC get an audio commentary from Imogen Sara Smith and a theatrical trailer.

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
81 mins
Director
: John Farrow
Writer:
Barré Lyndon; Jonathan Latimer
Cast:
Edward G. Robinson; Gail Russell; John Lund
Genre
: Drama | Thriller
Tagline:
Never Have the Stars Looked Down on an Adventure Like This!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'd become a sort of a reverse zombie. I was living in a world already dead, and I alone knowing it."
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 22, 1948
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 16, 2021.
Synopsis: When heiress Jean Courtland (Gail Russell, Calcutta) attempts suicide, her fiancé Elliott Carson (John Lund, A Foreign Affair) probes her relationship to stage mentalist John Triton (Robinson). In flashback, we see how Triton starts having terrifying flashes of true precognition. His partner, Whitney Courtland (Jerome Cowan, The Maltese Falcon), 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?

Art

Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948)

 

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