The Public Eye

Synopsis: Leon Bernstein is New York's best news photographer in 1942, equally at home with cops or crooks. The pictures are often of death and pain, but they are the ones the others wish they had got. Then glamorous Kay Levitz turns to him when the Mob seem to be muscling in on the club she owns due to some arrangement with her late husband. Bernstein, none too successful with women, agrees to help, saying there may be some good photos in it for him. In fact, he is falling in love with Kay.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Howard Franklin
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
Rotten Tomatoes:
99 min


We weren't six blocks from here when

it come over the radio.

Bernzy is lining up another shot; he speaks from behind both

cigar and camera.


I killed him. To get the pictures.

The Young Cop has entered. Bernzy waves him back.


You're casting a shadow.

He backs up, obligingly. Bernzy takes his shot.

The Young Cop kneels by the corpse. He finds a gun in the

waist-band of its suit trousers.


(to O'Brien)

Second one this week.


(to Bernzy)

Who'd this guy work for, Bernzy?

But Bernzy hears a car pulling up outside, a car door

slamming. He peers down into the street through the window.


Another Photographer is arriving. He crosses the street,

lugging a press camera.




I think Farinelli. But he's not

lookin' his best tonight... Could

you move his hat closer?




His hat. The hat. People like to see

a dead guy's hat.

O'Brien grudgingly picks up the hat, drops it closer to the


The flashbulb fires.



Bernzy, in the alley alongside the building, is hunched over

the open trunk of his sedan on a camp stool.

The car trunk has been turned into a darkroom. The truck

lamp has been replaced with a darkroom bulb. A drying line

is suspended over a shallow tub. (Also in the trunk are two

dozen boxes of Wabash super-flash photo lamps, an open box

of cigars, a pot of glue, various cameras and lenses, and a

tiny, battered typewriter.)

Bernzy looks up into the apartment window as the explosion

of a flashbulb-fills the window.

Bernzy unpins four nearly dry photos on the line, fans them

in the air, lays them face down on the trunk floor, and stamps

their backs with his identifying imprint:

Deco lettering is surround by the stamped outline of an eye,

like something on an optometrist's sign. Around the upper

and lower lids of the eye it says "CREDIT PHOTO TO - THE

GREAT BERNZINI". In the center of the eye it says "THE PUBLIC


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Howard Franklin

Howard Franklin is an American screenwriter and film director, known for such films as The Name of the Rose and Quick Change, his collaboration with Bill Murray. His other films include The Public Eye, about a 1940s tabloid photographer modeled on the photojournalist Weegee and starring Joe Pesci; Someone to Watch Over Me and The Man Who Knew Too Little. more…

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Submitted by aviv on February 09, 2017

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    "The Public Eye" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 17 Apr. 2021. <>.

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