Lory R. (melikedvd) from RICHMOND, CA Reviewed on 5/20/2016...
Edward Arnold is very effective as a blind detective who's partner is a dog named Friday. The talented cast includes Donna Reed, Mantan Moreland, Allen Jenkins, Reginald Denny, and a young Barry Nelson. The usual plot of murder & espionage is handled well and keeps your interest from start to finish. I understand MGM followed up with a second detective Duncan Maclain feature. Would love to see it as well.
Seems the only two companies who have put this out on DVD so far are Alpha & Mill Creek (as a part of one of their multi-movie packs. The Alpha release looks like they used a better looking (then most of their other DVDs) VHS tape as a master and is very watchable. I haven't seen the Mill Creek version but they are not known for doing a good job. It would be great if MGM decided to find their masters for both of the films and give them the release they deserve. Until then I think the Alpha release is the way to go.
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Matt B. from GETZVILLE, NY Reviewed on 9/23/2011...
"Startling as a Scream"
In this detective movie, PI Duncan 'Mac' Maclane is called in by his friend Norma after it appears that she might be facing a charge of murdering a cad from her past that had the gall to have designs on her 17-year-old stepdaughter. The curious point about the PI is that he is blind and assisted by a dim-witted guy, a butler-cook, and a wonder seeing-eye dog.
The human interest material in the first third of the movie doesn’t make much sense. Near the beginning there are excessive shots of the dog, I thought, though My Bride, a dog fan, strongly disagrees and says Friday is a German Shepherd Mix. In the middle, some scenes are rushed and action that apparently took place off-camera is not explained clearly.
However, this weak point is overcome by the suspense and plot twists that involved military secrets sought by a band of Nazi spies. MGM, heaven knows, had the highest standards for writing, camera work, and acting. I find those standards often bland and repetitious but I appreciate them in B-movies. The smart writing held my attention.
As the PI, Edward Arnold displays an interesting variety of characters, from curmudgeon to crab to sot. Ann Harding plays her usual elegant and noble woman. Allan Jenkins as the simpleton will be recognized from dozens of other movies. Donna Reed, only 21 at the time, plays the evil step-daughter almost too well – we unkindly wish she felt her come-uppance more for treating gracious Ann Harding so hatefully. Katherine Emery and Stanley Ridges bring convincing qualities to the Nazi spies; like most authoritarian personalities, they are touchy about rank, suspicious of everybody, and bungling as hell.
Mantan Moreland somehow manages to keep Friday the Dog from stealing scenes, which is a tribute to his manner and brand of humor. Thankfully, there is a minimum, I think, of ‘Feets Do Yo’ Stuph’ kind of guff and, for once, indicates that he has a life away from his employer.
Austrian-born filmmaker Fred Zinnemann directed this movie early on his career. Zinnemann later directed the well-known High Noon (1952) and Oklahoma! (1955). He won Academy Awards for Best Director on From Here to Eternity (1953 – he liked working with Donna Reed) and A Man for All Seasons, which was also Best Picture in 1967.
Not The Thin Man or Charley Chan But Good
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of the movies of the 30's and 40's you will recognize Edward Arnold but probably not his name. He was often cast as a man of power in the state, town, company or the family and he was convincingly good at it. Arnold diverts from his usual persona in Eyes In The Night. He deftly assumes the role of a blind private detective. Arnold brings to the screen some extraordinary talent as the male lead, the extent of which you don't see in his appearances as a supporting actor. His guide dog will amaze you, too. With a little tweaking this should have become a series of movies, and could have competed with Charlie Chan, The Thin Man, etc. The story and screenplay is a little hokey by today's standards, of course, but I am glad I bought it."
Feast for Fido Fans
Carolyn Paetow | Proctorville, OH United States | 03/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Take the hard-boiled resourcefulness of a wrestling blind sleuth and his canny canine sidekick, stir in a stew of diverse supporting characters, and the result is the recipe for this wartime noir mystery. Donna Reed is delicious as a precociously hard-edged seventeen-year-old, and Mantan Moreland and Allen Jenkins add just the right dash of comic relief."
"That phony nobility of yours makes me sick!"
Dave | Tennessee United States | 08/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this all-but-forgotten "B" film from 1942, Edward Arnold plays Duncan "Mac" Maclain, a blind, yes blind, private detective who uses his highly intelligent seeing-eye dog "Friday" to help him catch criminals and/or solve mysteries. Sounds hokey, I know, but I found this movie to be surprisingly entertaining from beginning to end, and quite hilarious. In fact, I wonder why they didn't make a series of films with the Duncan Maclain character, it might've been good competition with the Thin Man series.
Ann Harding plays Norma Lawry, a close friend of Duncan's who gets him to investigate the murder of an actor. But that is only the beginning of a sinister plot he slowly uncovers involving Nazi spies who're after secret government documents (or something like that) that belong to Ann's husband Stephen (Reginald Denny). Also complicating matters is the fact that Ann's disrespectful daughter Barbara (21-year-old Donna Reed, oh yeah!!!) is unknowingly helping the spies. Several murders later, however, it dawns on her that these strange men and women are not stage performers like she thought but are secret agents!
It all boils down to a smart dog and a blind detective that everyone underestimated. Edward Arnold, a great character actor, does wonderful here in the role of Duncan "Mac" Maclain, and Donna Reed, although playing a bratty teen, was very attractive and added a lot to the movie. Director Fred Zinnemann had little to no respect for "Eyes in the Night", but at the 1986 Berlin Film Festival honoring him the movie was the surprise hit. The movie has aged very well and is a great wartime "B" mystery that packs plenty of humor and entertainment into 80 minutes."
Good 1942 "B" film
George N. Fabian | Mountainside, USA | 03/16/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Eyes in the Night" was director Fred Zinneman's first feature film after having, among other things, directed some MGM short subjects, notably some of their "Crime Does Not Pay" entries. Here he directed a tidy little thriller which is a little slow in getting started but builds tension and suspense as it goes along. The plot deals with a blind detective and his seeing-eye dog who become enmeshed with enemy agents. There is a quiet intelligence to this film which is noticeable in other early Zinneman efforts, particularly "Kid Glove Killer", another good MGM "B" not on home video and "The Seventh Cross". The villains are shrewd and resourceful not given to "for the fatherland" melodramatics of so many other films of this period. A solid first feature from a fine director."
Just a lot of fun!
P. Moore | Sequim, WA | 03/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film will provide a good solid evening of entertainment. Yes, it is a Grade B detective film from the 40's, but it contains some distinctive, fun moments. The detective (played by Edward Arnold) is blind and must employ his own set of tricks to nab the bad guys. His Dog FRIDAY is a hoot. This dog is brighter than most of the humans in the movie! It is worth the price of the film to watch this dog act! Donna Reed at her youngest, is one of the female actresses, she adds a bit of interest in her "bad girl" routine. To sum it up, this is a film that provides a good entertainment. It certainly is different!"