Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Stolen Face (1952)

Director: Terence Fisher

Writers: Martin Berkeley, Richard H. Landau, Alexander Paal, Steven Vas

Composer: Malcolm Arnold

Starring: Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott, Andre Morell, Mary Mackenzie, John Wood, Susan Stephen, Arnold Ridley, Cyril Smith, Diana Beaumont, Terence O'Regan, Russell Napier

More info: IMDb

Tagline: TREACHERY wears a Stolen Face

Plot: A plastic surgeon has a brief fling with a concert pianist, then she leaves him to go back to her previous boyfriend. In order to "keep" her, he operates on a patient--a female criminal on the run--and changes her face to duplicate his former lovers. Trouble ensues when the pianist returns to him.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

Call me surprised.  The first half of this short 71 minute picture is a by the numbers melodrama where the guy falls in love with a gal but we the audience just know something's up with her.  Yup.  She dumps him when it's time for her concert pianist self to split when her tour is over and go home to...her fiance!  So what's a plastic surgeon to do?   Why use his skills to shape a scarred up female prisoner to look like his lost beloved...and marry her!!!  See, he's a brilliant plastic surgeon whose clients include charity work at the local women's prison.  We're told that nearly all of the prisoners he works on lead normal, non criminal productive lives after he finishes with them.  He thinks his new project will follow in the same pattern...only she doesn't, but it's too late since he married the broad.  The piano gal ends up not marrying her fiance and comes to reclaim the doc.  The last half hour is easily the best.  Once we catch on that he's making his new bride to look like the ivory tickler, the story starts wandering into THE TWILIGHT ZONE territory and it gets worse for the guy from then on.  The ending is great.  Love it.  It's one of 6 movies in the first Hammer Film Noir DVD set that I picked up on the cheap.  It's the third one I've watched so far and it's the best but it's still a fence sitter whether I'll watch it again.  If any of the other three are worth it I'll probably end up keeping the set.  Unfortunately the extras are limited to text bios and a few trailer but not for all of them.  Yawn.

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