01 September 2014

Eyes Without a Face (1959)
90 min.
Directed by Georges Franju.
With Pierre Brasseur, Edith Scob, Alida Valli, François Guérin, Alexandre Rignault, Béatrice Altariba.
Beautiful French horror aka The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus.

Lovely Christiane (Scob) barely survives a devastating car accident, her face terribly burned and disfigured.

Out of heavy grief, her father Dr. Genessier (Brasseur) vows to restore his daughter's prettiness...by kidnapping assorted young women and cutting off their faces in an effort to graft the skin onto Christiane's scarred countenance.

Will the plan work or do the Fates have something else in mind?

Smartly written by Diabolique authors Boileau & Narcejac and poignantly shot by director Franju, Eyes is an undisputed terror masterpiece, a memorable nightmare filled with dreamlike imagery and wide ranging pathos.

Best scene: either the unflinching graft operation or the mesmerizing climax. Genre vet Valli here turns in a thoughtful performance as the Dr.'s secretary/accomplice Louise.

Clearly the inspiration for efforts such as The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962) as well as Mansion of the Doomed (1976).

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