Saturday, May 1, 2010

Eyes in the Night (1942)

This weekend's double feature is a couple of films that should have had more sequels to them. The lead character is named Duncan "mac" Maclain.He's a blind detective who is anything but helpless (he knows judo among other things). Actually Maclain as portrayed by actor Edward Arnold is one of the most formidable detective in B movies. Everyone thinks that because he's blind he's helpless, however that's not the case since he was a crack detective before losing his sight, which everyone seems to forget.

Why this film never spawned a series has always been a question I never found an answer to. Had today's film, Eyes in the Night, been a one off I might have understood that MGM had no plans to go anywhere with the character, but to resurrect him 3 years later seemed kind of silly to me.

In this first film Maclain is asked to look into the murder of an actor. Very quickly things become complicated as Arnold realizes that there are sinister forces at work that are not run of the mill or of our freedom loving country (lousy Nazis).

This is a great thriller. I would love to say mystery, except that the mystery is solved about a third of the way through. Granted there are other details to work out, but the mystery is effectively over. That's not to say you won't be sitting on the edge of your seat, you will. Arnold is an imposing figure and its a joy to watch this "helpless" man turn the tables on all of those around him. We in the audience know he's far from helpless, having witnessed the opening judo lesson, so we know whats in store for those who think they can get the upper hand on him.

The film isn't perfect. There are a few contrived bits and the end is rushed, still its 80 minutes well spent. The highest praise I can think of is if you're like me you'll probably wish there was more with this character than a single follow up film.

This is currently available from a variety of discount sources. This is one to pick up since odds are you'll be like me and want to watch it again.

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