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Eyes in the Night

A Dark Labyrinth of Terror...And Murder!!!
Eyes in the Night
Tale of a blind detective (Edward Arnold) who tries to outwit Nazi spies and to solve a murder.


John Chard
Now you are in my world-darkness! Eyes in the Night is directed by Fred Zinnemann and adapted to screenplay by Guy Trosper and Howard Emett Rogers from Baynard Kendrick's novel The Odor of Violets. It stars Edward Arnold, Ann Harding, Donna Reed, Stephen McNally, Katherine Emery, Allen Jenkins, Stanley Ridges and Friday the dog. Photography is shared between Robert Planck and Charles Lawton and the music is scored by Lennie Hayton. Plot finds Arnold as blind detective Duncan Maclain, also a judo expert, he is always accompanied by his intelligent seeing-eye dog, Friday. Maclain is called on to a murder case for his friend, Norma Lawry (Harding), but the body is missing and there appears to be something very sinister going on at the Lawry family home. A cracking little thriller boosted by a top cast (Donna Reed playing a bitch step-daughter!) and moody photography. What it lacks in simplicity of plot it more than makes up for in terms of execution and tone, with the added "gimmick" of the detective being blind further enhancing the effectiveness of the picture. In fact, that Arnold is so good, and his dog so brilliant (seriously, this is one great dog), it marks this out as ingenious considering the limits of the Wartime story. Zinnemann knits it together skillfully, never letting the pace sag or the tension drop, while there's some great scenes dotted throughout: such as one filmed in total darkness, lit up intermittently by the flash of pistol fire. With the film 99% set at night of in darkened rooms, this lets Planck (The Canterville Ghost/Moonfleet) & Lawton (3:10 To Yuma/The Tall T) dally in atmospheric shadows and murky low lights. Clocking in at a slim 80 minutes with never a dull moment, Eyes in the Night is one of the more enjoyable film's of its type. Deserves a bigger audience. 7.5/10

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