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

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Who is that masked lady? 
FLESH AND FANTASY (1943). Director: Julien Duvivier.

This is a collection of three macabre stories with a framing device of one man relating the tales to another. The first story deals with a supposedly homely woman (Betty Field) who is given a mask (see photo) that makes her appear beautiful to everyone and that she must return by midnight. In the second story, Edward G. Robinson is given a prediction, which he initially scoffs at, that he will commit murder. The second story runs into the third, which has a high-wire acrobat (Charles Boyer) having premonitions of disaster when he meets a mysterious woman (Barbara Stanwyck) whom he has seen in a recurring dream in which he falls to his death; meanwhile the lady has secrets of her own. In a cast of talented actors, Thomas Mitchell [Theodora Goes Wild] and Dame May Whitty [The Sign of the Ram] almost walk off with the picture and it's quite interesting to see Boyer and Stanwyck together. Alexander Tasman contributed some quirky theme music. Duvivier also directed Lydia.

Verdict: Perhaps less here than meets the eye, but it's well-acted for the most part and entertaining. ***.


angelman66 said...

Bill, I need to see this one, have read about it for years but have never come across it. Looks very eerie and moody, and that mask you've pictured is kind of terrifying. I love it! And what a cast...anything with Edward G. and Stanwyck has got to be worth the price of admission.

William said...

Yes, this one has a very interesting cast and situations. You're right -- that mask is creepy!