EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|STOLEN FACE (director: Terence Fisher; screenwriters: Richard H. Landau/Martin Berkeley/story by Alexander Paal & Steven Vas; cinematographer: Walter Harvey; editor: Maurice Rootes; music: Malcolm Arnold; cast: Paul Henreid (Dr. Philip Ritter), Lizabeth Scott (Alice Brent/Lily Conover after surgery), Andre Morell (David), Mary Mackenzie (Lily Conover, before surgery), John Wood (Dr. John 'Jack' Wilson), Arnold Ridley (Dr. Russell), Susan Stephen (Betty), Everley Gregg (Lady Millicent Harringay), Diana Beaumont (May), Terence O'Regan (Pete Snipe, Lily's friend); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Anthony Hinds; VCI Entertainment; 1952-UK)|
uneven minor mad scientist
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An uneven minor mad scientist horror pic directed by Terence Fisher ("The Hound of the Baskervilles"/"The Curse of Frankenstein"/"Kill Me Tomorrow"), that can be construed as a lesser Eyes Without A Face (1959). It's based on the story by Alexander Paal and Steven Vas, and is written by Richard H. Landau and Martin Berkeley.
Workaholic, brilliant and
philanthropic plastic surgeon Dr. Philip
Ritter (Paul Henreid) goes on a forced weekend holiday
when stranded in
the English countryside and meets at the inn he's
staying at American
pianist Alice Brent (Lizabeth
Scott), who is on a European tour. In the few days
that they are
together they fall in love, but she refuses his marriage
vanishes. The smug doctor's ego is bruised, so on the
rebound he gives
career female criminal Lily
inmate in the local
prison soon to be paroled, a face lift and makes her
look just like
Alice. Doc then marries her, as he thinks with her new
environment she'll change into a refined lady. But the
marriage is a
disaster, as Lily turns into a monster and to the
chagrin of hubby goes
on a stealing spree, parties with her low-life
criminal friends in the
cultured doctor's house and treats the well-meaning
but foolish doctor
with utter contempt.
was supposed to marry her kind-hearted British
manager, David (Andre Morell), but he refuses when he sees that she's
in love with doc. If things were far-fetched until
now, when Alice
returns to Philip and the psychopathic Lily won't give
him a divorce
things really go over-the-top in the film's
unbelievable ending that
one can only scratch their head at and wonder what the
Scott is in a dual role, playing the nice cultured
concert pianist and
the boorish criminal after surgery.
The chintzy Hammer studio leaves us with the moral lesson that one can never steal a face, even if it's beautiful, and expect it to therefore be beautiful without working on the character part. Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) cleared up all of this film's flaws in storytelling, while using the same motifs. Paul Henreid starred in the also far-fetched crime drama entitled The Scar (aka: Hollow Triumph, 1948), where fugitive Henreid kills his psychoanalyst double and takes his place--which reminded me of this pic's hysterical (and I don't mean funny) story.
REVIEWED ON 8/6/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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