Take Eyes in the Night, a 1942 M-G-M programmer. While trying to clear a friend of murder, Police Captain Duncan McLain breaks up a Nazi spy ring.
|You'd trust a blind cop with a gun, right?|
|Friday's ticked off because his|
contract said nothing about
|"Four walls and a roof... or is it|
four roofs and a wall?"
Smart as he is, Friday can't talk (yet), so McLain has a two-legged sidekick, Marty, to describe the surroundings when inspecting crime scenes. But when Marty's played by the perennially dim-witted Alan Jenkins, you know that the dog ultimately has the upper paw. Jenkins, on loan from Warner Bros., seems almost out of place in a Metro picture, even one on the lower-end of the budget spectrum as Eyes of the Night, but, as usual, is a welcome sight. Well, except for the blind cop.
|Ann Harding is 41 but playing 50.|
Donna Reed is 24 but playing 17 while
looking 35. The magic of Hollywood!
|"OK, anyone who isn't a Nazi, say 'aye.'"|
|I have no idea what's supposed|
to be happening here.
But Arnold's style is partly his undoing. Adept at playing villains (like Satan in the Metro short Inflation), he makes me just a little uncomfortable when a good guy, as in Eyes in the Night. There always seems to be something nasty simmering just below the surface, like a desire to kick his dog in the face without warning. (Paul Newman admitted basing his performance in the Coen Brothers' 1940s-style farce The Hudsucker Proxy on Arnold. Take it from someone who's seen it -- it was a bad idea.)
Maybe audiences didn't buy the blind-cop premise after all. The studio waited three years before making another McLain movie with Arnold before scuttling the whole idea. These were also Friday's only movie appearances. Not much of a call, apparently, for seeing-eye dogs working with blind cops. Typecasting's brutal, even if you can hide behind a bed on command.
To read about Inflation, go here.