CineSavant Column

Tuesday April 13, 2021



Good news from Kino — we’re finally getting a Blu of John Farrow’s long-absent ‘eerie’ noir Night Has a Thousand Eyes. I haven’t seen it since UCLA in the early ’70s — the fledgling film archive took possession of all of Paramount’s studio screening prints, and many were nitrate copies. All I remember is that it was definitely dark, and that Gail Russell’s eyes were haunting, as always. Russell had the saddest eyes of any film star ever. The moody noir also stars Edward G. Robinson and John Lund.

One of my daydream ideas for a revival theater was to program quirky lead-in music that would work like an overture — turn the house lights down by half, etc.. Of course, the whole point would be to not play music from the movie, but instead songs suggested by the movie. For Thousand Eyes the obvious item would be this Bobby Vee tune, written fourteen years later. Counter-programming, you know.

Kino is also being kind to Universal completists, announcing upcoming discs of The Spider Woman Strikes Back with Gale Sondergaard and Rondo Hatton, and the 1941 Basil Rathbone mystery movie The Mad Doctor. I haven’t seen either one, but the Spider Woman movie seems to have attracted fan love and attention for completely inverted reasons. Here’s a quote from an email I received yesterday: “The release will serve the purpose of putting to rest any claims that The Spider Woman Strikes Back is a hidden programmer jewel or something. To me it’s the nadir of Universal output of the era. Even Sondergaard and Hatton can’t liven it up. It’s just bad on so many levels.”

Gee, what an endorsement, now I have to see it. Kino ought to be able to extract some great advertising bites from that quote.



And hey, I got a nice surprise over the weekend. The first visit from my daughter in 14 months, due to you-know-what… and she brings me a flying saucer- themed cookie jar with COOKIES in it. It looks like a ‘glass ray’ is beaming down from the saucer. It’s time to count one’s blessings, here.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson