Monday, June 12, 2017

Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948) at UCLA: A Photo Gallery

Last night was a special evening at UCLA, a 35mm nitrate screening of NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES (1948).

This was my second nitrate film at UCLA this year, following ROAD HOUSE (1948) in January. Since the Egyptian Theatre added a nitrate projection booth last year, we're very fortunate to have two theaters in Los Angeles which now regularly screen the great-looking but potentially dangerous nitrate movies.

The evening began with a 1948 newsreel on safety stock, followed by two 1948 shorts on nitrate. First up was the colorful cartoon LITTLE BROWN JUG (1948), which includes an audience sing-along of the title tune, followed by MOVIES ARE ADVENTURE (1948), a short promoting the magic of the moviegoing experience which was made by the Academy. All three shorts were interesting, and I loved that everything shown was from the same year as the feature film.

I first reviewed NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES in 2011, and I was fortunate to see a beautiful new 35mm print at the Noir City Film Festival in 2013. Last night I was able to experience the film in a decades-old 35mm nitrate print.

NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES is a movie I like more each time I see it. John Farrow directs with great mood, and it sucks the viewer in from the opening strains of Victor Young's marvelous score. The first time I saw it I was struck by the need to suspend disbelief for the improbable story, but being well-acquainted with the film now, I buy into it from the beginning. Think of it as something like film noir meets THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and you've got the idea. It would make a great double bill with another noir fantasy, REPEAT PERFORMANCE (1947).

The nitrate print was beautiful. The early reels in particular sometimes had a thin vertical line, but the rest of the picture still looked good, and the later reels were stunning, with deep, rich blacks. Beyond the quality of the movie itself, simply taking in the sumptuous black and white shots of Gail Russell in nitrate was an amazing experience.

It's rather a crime that two classic 1948 films Russell starred in for Paramount haven't made their way to DVD. You'd think both NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES and MOONRISE (1948) would be perfect releases for the Criterion Collection, especially since Criterion released another Paramount classic with Russell, THE UNINVITED (1944). Update: MOONRISE has now been released by the Criterion Collection!

In honor of seeing this wonderful film again, I've put together a gallery of images. Along with Russell, the movie stars Edward G. Robinson, John Lund, Virginia Bruce, Jerome Cowan, and William Bendix, with John Alexander, Roman Bohnen, Onslow Stevens, and Douglas Spencer in support.

Highly recommended viewing.

Previous movie photo gallery posts: THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), YELLOW SKY (1948), WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951), and THE GLASS SLIPPER (1955).

August 2021 Update: NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES will be released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber Studio Classics in November 2021.

January 2022 Update:  My review of the Blu-ray release is here.  It includes several photos not seen in this post.


Blogger Seth said...

I've heard a radio adaptation with Robinson (Screen Directors Playhouse, I believe) which I thought was very good, so I too wish the movie was released on disc so that I could actually see it.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

Love your gallery.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Jim Lane said...

Laura, how I envy you seeing Night Has a Thousand Eyes in a nitrate print! I've been haunted by this movie ever since the days of Late Late Shows on my local TV stations, and I posted on it at Cinedrome a few years back (about the same time you did, as a matter of fact). The picture has long since vanished from regular TV rotation, and all I have now is a bootleg DVD that's too dark and fails to do justice to John F. Seitz's moody cinematography (that's what I most envy you for having seen). It'll have to do until a really good transfer comes along (how about it, Universal?).

By the way, have you ever read Cornell Woolrich's novel? It makes a fascinating compare-and-contrast, giving the lie to the old canard that "the movie is never as good as the book". In fact, Barre Lyndon and Jonathan Latimer's script is a vast improvement.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Let's hope you don't have to wait much longer, Seth!

Thanks, Vienna! I was pleased I was able to round up so many high-caliber images.

Best wishes,

12:27 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Jim! That black and white cinematography looked so rich seen via nitrate! There's also a beautiful print Universal struck for Noir City which has made the rounds at film fests, yet, as I mentioned in my post, the movie remains elusive on DVD or Blu-ray.

I found your post very interesting with the book to film comparisons. I haven't read the book so was very interested that you find the film far superior. Hope my readers will click over to your site and check it out.

Best wishes,

9:19 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Heavens, what wonderful experiences you have had with this film. I'm not sure if it is Eddie or Gail who draws me in deeper each time, but it is one of those movies that stays with you.

Ah, Moonrise. You are so right about it being Criterion material. I'm beginning to think it might be that Russell girl who brought something special to her roles.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I first saw NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES on a late TV movie in 1967. At the time I thought it was exceptionally good.

Didn't see it again till just a few months ago and was really blown away by it. I think only the unnecessary and unwanted last-reel jump into a prosaic, standard, murder mystery climax keeps it from being a genuine masterpiece.

I was surprised to read in several places that EG Robinson was not fond of the movie, thought it was "clap-trap", and did it only for the paycheck. For one thing...Robinson was wrong. For another, if he did this only for the money, it's even more testament to his talent and his professionalism to see him turn in such a strong, committed performance in a vehicle he felt beneath him.

9:48 AM  
Blogger KC said...

She had such sad eyes. Too bad it wasn't an act. I love this movie.

10:41 PM  

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