Eyes in the Night (1942)

“Startling as a Scream!” Sure, the entire film is based on a gimmick – Edward Arnold (The Devil and Daniel Webster) portrays blind private detective “Duncan ‘Mac’ Maclain” who investigates a murder and breaks up a Nazi spy ring with the help of his loyal seeing-eye dog “Friday” (played by himself!) – but Eyes in the Night is an entertaining little mystery/crime drama with an engaging cast. Directed by Fred Zinnemann (High Noon), the film was based on Baynard Kendrick’s 1941 novel The Odor of Violets. Disguised as servants, spies have infiltrated the home of Inventor “Stephen Lawry” (Reginald Denny), who has developed some sort of secret formula for the U.S. government. Look for Donna Reed (It’s a Wonderful Life) as Lawry’s bitchy teenager named “Barbara” out to drive her stepmother “Norma” (Ann Harding) insane by dating 50-year-old, has-been actor “Paul Gerente” (John Emery) – who also happens to be Norma’s former lover. When Gerente gets murdered, Norma calls on her old friend Maclain to investigate. Allen Jenkins portrays Maclain’s faithful but bumbling sidekick “Marty.” Highlights include Maclain kicking ass in the darkened basement (“In the dark … my kingdom …”), Donna Reed punching the Nazi agent chick (Katherine Emery) out, and Friday saving the day by jumping onto the roof, entering the house through a window and pouncing on the goon who was about to fire the shotgun and blow Maclain’s head off (okay so I’m being a little dramatic!). Arnold returned for a sequel, The Hidden Eye (1945), which was directed by Richard Whorf.

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