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I’m trying to identify a film I probably saw in the 70s or 80s. The protagonist is a young man who has had spy gear implanted to allow an un-named agency to see through his eyes. The problem with the technology is that if his eyes go without light stimulation for more than a few seconds, he will go blind. I believe the action takes place somewhere in Europe.

I would have seen the film in English, possibly dubbed. I don’t think it had sub-titles, though I could be wrong about this.

I remember a few specific scenes:

  1. He is arrested (for some petty crime, not spying) and thrown in an otherwise unoccupied prison. His jailers turn the lights off for the night. He lies that he is deathly afraid of the dark and begs them to leave the lights on. After a few seconds, the lights come back on and he collapses in relief.
  2. He’s in a forest, or at least outside, at night and using a flashlight to shine light in his eyes every few seconds. It’s implied that he never sleeps.
  3. Near the end of the film, he’s connected with a woman and confided in her. They are in the dark and she drops his flashlight in the grass. He panics and yells for her to find it quickly. She eventually finds it and shines it in his face but he continues to yell for her to find it: it’s too late.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to come up with a good internet search for this. Anyone know the film I’m talking about?

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    All that effort to implant spy technology in his eyes, and they couldn't attach an LED.
    – Adamant
    Jun 23 '20 at 19:59
  • @Adamant keep in mind that this is in the early days of LEDs and well before LED flashlights. But the point is taken.
    – DoxyLover
    Jun 23 '20 at 23:30
  • @Adamant Funny you should make that comment. Early in the movie, he’s told to always carry a flashlight. He replies something like how with all the technology, it all depends on a battery.
    – DoxyLover
    Jun 27 '20 at 9:01
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Death Watch (1980)

It sounds like this movie, here are the 1st few paragraphs from the plot summary on Wikipedia:

The film is set in a future where death from illness has become rare. When Katherine Mortenhoe is diagnosed as having an incurable disease, she becomes a celebrity and is besieged by journalists. The television company NTV (headed by Vincent Ferriman) offers her a large sum of money if she will allow her last days to be filmed and made into a reality television show – they have already spied on her as she is told of her diagnosis (her doctor is colluding with them) and prepared posters for the show which show her face (to her annoyance when she sees the posters on display before they have contacted her).

Katherine pretends to agree but evades NTV's employees and goes on the run with the assistance of a casual acquaintance called Roddy. The audience knows – but she does not – that Roddy is, in fact, a senior NTV cameraman who has undergone an experimental surgical procedure which implants cameras and transmitters behind his eyes, so that everything he sees is relayed back to NTV, who use it as the basis for their reality show. Roddy has done this mainly for money to give his estranged wife and their son. A side-effect of the procedure is that he will go blind if he experiences more than a short period of darkness; he uses drugs to keep awake, has learned to sleep for brief periods with his eyes open, and carries a flashlight which he shines on his eyes at night. Meanwhile, Katherine's doctor has discovered that she is not actually dying and he informs NTV who tell no one and continue with the show, broadcasting an edited version of Roddy's feed.

Continuing on the lam, Katherine asks Roddy to take her to Land's End. The two arrive and sit on the beach and have a long talk. Katherine then asks Roddy to take her to town and buy her some lipstick. He persuades her to stay by the beach knowing that she will be recognized if she goes with him. In town, Roddy sees "Death Watch" playing in a pub and begins to cry. He returns to the beach as night is falling and has an emotional breakdown, losing his flashlight. Katherine comes to him and he asks her to help him. She finds the flashlight and shines it in his eyes, but he has already gone blind. Roddy admits who he is, and what he is doing, to her.

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  • This sure sounds right. It's available on Amazon Prime for free so I'm going to watch it to see if it matches my memory. I'll let you know soon.
    – DoxyLover
    Jun 24 '20 at 5:18
  • I skimmed the movie and it’s definitely the one. Thanks. Funny how the details don’t match my memory much at all. However, I found all of the scenes I remembered. Unless there was another version made, which I doubt, it’s just my memory doing tricks.
    – DoxyLover
    Jun 27 '20 at 8:58
  • Well, that's messed up. Jul 8 '20 at 13:14

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