For Reel

Eyes in the Night (1942)
February 9, 2015, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Fred Zinneman
3 Stars
Eyes in the NightThe mystery at the center of Eyes in the Night is solved about a third of the way through, leaving another hour or so for tension to build as a blind detective (Edward Arnold) attempts to outsmart and thwart a Nazi ring. It is marginally successful in doing so–the high stakes and dark, moody imagery create a suitably grim tone, and Arnold has a ball in his role and is accompanied by a hugely impressive seeing-eye dog named Friday. The twist of a blind sleuth was new for the period and it is used effectively. In the most memorable scene, Arnold smashes a light in a cellar and threatens to a pursuing thug that he is, “In the dark. In my kingdom!” A larger than life performer, Arnold was often well-suited to the smaller parts and his grandiosity does get suffocating in some stretches (his drunk act grows tiresome), but he is complemented well by the always effectively understated Ann Harding. Cinematographer Charles Lawton Jr. makes the most out of the “dark” gimmick (the setting in which a blind man has the upper hand) and director Fred Zinneman paces the action well in his feature debut.

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