Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Lizabeth Scott and Paul Henreid
STOLEN FACE (1952). Director: Terence Fisher.

While on vacation Dr. Philip Ritter (Paul Henreid). a renowned plastic surgeon,  meets and falls in love with concert pianist Alice Brent (Lizabeth Scott), but discovers that she is already betrothed to another. When Ritter is enlisted to give a disfigured female criminal, Lily (Mary Mackenzie) a new lease on life by giving her a new face, he uses Alice's countenance, and tries to turn her into Alice [sow's ear, silk purse, and all that]! Further complicating matters is Alice's decision to return to Philip, meaning the two women in his life now have the exact same face. This is certainly an intriguing idea [with some echoes of A Woman's Face, not to mention Vertigo, both of which are vastly superior]] but it is astonishing that no one ever calls Ritter out on his completely unethical and highly unprofessional behavior, making this a movie that seems to operate in its own weird little dimension. [The movie seems to find Ritter's bizarre obsessive actions to be reasonable!] On the other hand, Stolen Face is well-acted by the leads and Andre Morrell, has a nice score by Malcolm Arnold, and is completely absorbing.

Verdict: One of the best of the Hammer studio melodramas released in the U.S. by Lippert. ***.

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