The Hidden Eye


1h 9m 1945
The Hidden Eye

Brief Synopsis

Blind detective Duncan Maclaine uses his other senses to piece together confusing clues behind a murder.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Last Express
Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Sep 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 31 Aug 1945
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Last Express by Baynard Kendrick (New York, 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,229ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Barry Gifford is eager to marry Jean Hampton, the niece of wealthy tin mine owner Arthur Hampton, but Arthur, who feels that it is inappropriate for them marry so soon after two mysterious murders in the family, refuses to give his consent. In the hope of persuading Arthur's brother Rodney to give his consent to the marriage, Jean and Barry arrange a meeting with him at his apartment. When Jean and Barry arrive at Rodney's, however, they find Phillip Treadway, Arthur's lawyer, standing over Rodney's murdered body. On the floor, by the body, Barry finds a perfumed note with a cryptic statement alluding to treachery in Sumatra. A short time later, Inspector Delaney adds Rodney's murder to his investigation of the two previous family murders. He begins to suspect Barry, who may have may have killed Rodney to avenge his father's financial losses while he was Arthur's business partner in Sumatra. Jean believes that Barry is innocent, and, therefore, decides to seek the help of Capt. Duncan Maclain, a blind detective friend of hers. Aided by his seeing-eye dog "Friday," Duncan begins an investigation, using the killer's perfumed note as his only clue. While Duncan tries to determine the ingredients of the perfume on the letter, Arthur becomes the killer's next victim. After determining the brand of perfume on the letter, Duncan and his bodyguard, Marty Corbett, come to suspect Treadway. Realizing that the perfume is insufficient evidence with which to charge Treadway, Duncan decides to deliberately let the lawyer know that he is a suspect in the hopes that Treadway will accidentally incriminate himself. A short time later, Treadway abducts Friday and lures Duncan and Marty to his hideout, where he imprisons the two men. After admitting to Duncan and Marty that he killed members of the Hampton family to get at Arthur's money, Treadway leaves the hideout to kill Barry and frame him for the murders. Duncan and Marty overpower their abductors and, after escaping from the hideout, race to the Hampton estate to foil Treadway's scheme. With Friday's help, Duncan and Marty prevent Barry's murder and succeed in exposing the killers. With the case solved, Jean and Barry resume their romance and ask Duncan to be the best man at their wedding.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Last Express
Genre
Crime
Mystery
Release Date
Sep 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 31 Aug 1945
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Last Express by Baynard Kendrick (New York, 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,229ft (7 reels)

Articles

Hidden Eye -


Writer Baynard Kendrick drew upon his military service in World War I, assisting with the rehabilitation of soldiers blinded in combat, to inform a series of mystery novels featuring a sightless private detective. A stickler for accuracy, Kendrick labored to ensure that all of his thirteen whodunits featuring ex-Army Intelligence officer Captain Duncan Maclain were true to life, never permitting his protagonist to fall back on the literary device of a sixth sense to bring the killer to justice. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer twice brought the character of "Mac" Maclain to the big screen, first in Fred Zinnemann's Eyes in the Night (1942) and again in The Hidden Eye (1945), directed by Richard Whorf. Playing Maclain in both features was Edward Arnold, an older, portlier take on the character as written but convincing as a sleuth who does not need eyes to see the truth. Based on The Last Express, the first of Kendrick's Maclain novels (published in 1937), The Hidden Eye enmeshes its indefatigable hero in a murder mystery involving members of a wealthy family. Though modestly mounted, the programmer is rich in talent, with Arnold's performance backed by supporting work from Mercury Theatre trouper Ray Collins, veteran Hollywood heavy Jack Lambert, and - in an unbilled bit as a perfume counter salesgirl - Audrey Totter, a year or so away from starring roles in the noir classics The Lady in the Lake (1947) and The Set Up (1949). Though MGM retired Mac Maclain after this film the character was retooled, albeit liberally, for the short-lived ABC-TV series Longstreet, starring James Franciscus.

By Richard Harland Smith
Hidden Eye -

Hidden Eye -

Writer Baynard Kendrick drew upon his military service in World War I, assisting with the rehabilitation of soldiers blinded in combat, to inform a series of mystery novels featuring a sightless private detective. A stickler for accuracy, Kendrick labored to ensure that all of his thirteen whodunits featuring ex-Army Intelligence officer Captain Duncan Maclain were true to life, never permitting his protagonist to fall back on the literary device of a sixth sense to bring the killer to justice. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer twice brought the character of "Mac" Maclain to the big screen, first in Fred Zinnemann's Eyes in the Night (1942) and again in The Hidden Eye (1945), directed by Richard Whorf. Playing Maclain in both features was Edward Arnold, an older, portlier take on the character as written but convincing as a sleuth who does not need eyes to see the truth. Based on The Last Express, the first of Kendrick's Maclain novels (published in 1937), The Hidden Eye enmeshes its indefatigable hero in a murder mystery involving members of a wealthy family. Though modestly mounted, the programmer is rich in talent, with Arnold's performance backed by supporting work from Mercury Theatre trouper Ray Collins, veteran Hollywood heavy Jack Lambert, and - in an unbilled bit as a perfume counter salesgirl - Audrey Totter, a year or so away from starring roles in the noir classics The Lady in the Lake (1947) and The Set Up (1949). Though MGM retired Mac Maclain after this film the character was retooled, albeit liberally, for the short-lived ABC-TV series Longstreet, starring James Franciscus. By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title for this film was The Last Express. While onscreen credits note the film was based "on the characters created by Baynard Kendrick," contemporary sources indicate that the story was taken from Kenrick's best-selling novel The Last Express. A 1942 M-G-M film Eyes in the Night also starred Edward Arnold as the blind detective "Duncan Maclain" and featured Friday, the dog. Although the CBCS and Hollywood Reporter news items in late January 1945 indicate that actor Russell Hicks had been cast for the part of "Rodney Hampton," the role was actually played by Clyde Fillmore. A December 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item listed actor William Norton Bailey in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Other pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter indicate that production on the film, which was to have begun on November 27, 1944, was postponed due to an illness suffered by director Richard Whorf.