Big Brown Eyes (1936)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, Mystery, Romance

Big Brown Eyes (1936) Poster

Sassy manicurist Eve Fallon is recruited as an even more brassy reporter and she helps police detective boyfriend Danny Barr break a jewel theft ring and solve the murder of a baby.


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28 March 2009 | MartinHafer
| One of Cary Grant's better films before becoming a mega-star
Mega-stardom for Cary Grant still was ahead of him when he made this amiable romantic mystery with Joan Bennett, though the film is still well worth watching and is one of the better films in this era. By 1937-1939 he was pretty much a household name, with films such as THE AWFUL TRUTH, HOLIDAY and GUNGA DIN to his credit (BRINGING UP BABY was perhaps the best of the films of this time period, but in 1938 it was a financial flop).

As for Joan, though much of the film I thought she was her sister Constance, as Joan died her hair platinum blonde for the film and she's best known as a raven-haired actress. It's amazing how much alike they look given the same hair styles. She, too, had better and more popular films in the future and so this film is one from both their transitional periods--clearly they were stars, but not of the first order.

The film is a wonderful blend of comedy, romance and mystery and is one of the better examples of this odd genre combination. While it isn't up to the tip-top standards of THE THIN MAN (but what was?), it was certainly a very good film. What I liked best was the writing for Joan's character. She was a wonderful 'broad'--a worldly and wise lady who had some of the best one-liners I've ever heard in a film of the era. She was enticing AND mouthy at the same time--whatta dame! The mystery involves an evil private detective (Walter Pidgeon) who is not above a lot of larceny in order to make it in his racket. Not only does he find stolen items, but he's not above having others killed or dealing with crooks to get it. During most of the film, Grant plays a police detective (an odd casting decision, I know) who is in love with Joan AND is assigned to a case involving Pidgeon--though at this point, no one knows he's "Mr. Big" behind everything evil and corrupt Grant is investigating. Throughout the investigation, Joan in the role of a reporter, does amazingly well in helping her boyfriend and even though they snipe at each other a bit, they are a great screen couple.

Overall, a delightful film that is close to earning an 8. Very well written and surprisingly good for an earlier Grant film.

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Release Date:

3 April 1936



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