Big Brown Eyes (1936): Raoul Walsh’s Crime Comedy, Starring Cary Grant and Joan Bennett

In Raoul Walsh’s uncharacteristically minor feature, the crime comedy Big Brown Eyes, Cary Grant plays police officer Danny Barr, chasing jewel robbers.

Grade: C (* out of *****)

Big Brown Eyes

Theatrical release poster

The story is credited to James Edward Grant (who would become one of John Wayne’s most reliable scribes), with uncredited contribution from director Walsh.

Joan Bennett plays his girlfriend Eve Fallon, who after working as manicurist, becomes a reporter assigned to cover the jewel thieves case,

When one jewel gang member is acquitted after killing a baby in Central Park, both Barr and Fallon quit their jobs.

Soon thereafter, Fallon gets a lucky break while giving a manicure and the case is solved.

Dismissed by critics as utterly disposable and inconsequential, the comedy was a commercial failure, failing to recoup its budget.


Cary Grant as Det. Sgt. Danny Barr
Joan Bennett as Eve Fallon
Walter Pidgeon as Richard Morey
Lloyd Nolan as Russ Cortig
Alan Baxter as Cary Butler
Marjorie Gateson as Mrs. Chesley Cole
Isabel Jewell as Bessie Blair
Douglas Fowley as Benjamin ‘Benny’ Battle


Directed by Raoul Walsh
Written by James Edward Grant (story), Bert Hanlon, Walsh
Produced by Walter Wanger
Cinematography George T. Clemens
Edited by Robert L. Simpson
Music by Gerard Carbonara
Distributed by Paramount

Release date: April 3, 1936

Running time: 75 minutes
Budget $289,696
Box office $359,009