Eyes Without a Face – France, 1960 – overview and reviews

 
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Eyes Without a Face (original title: Les yeux sans visage) is a 1960 French horror film adaptation of Jean Redon’s novel, directed by Georges Franju, and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli.

During the film’s production, consideration was given to the standards of European censors by setting the right tone, minimizing gore and eliminating the mad-scientist character. Although the film passed through the European censors, the film’s release in Europe caused controversy nevertheless. Critical reaction ranged from praise to disgust.

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The film received an American debut in an edited and dubbed form in 1962 under the title of The Horror Chamber of Doctor Faustus. In the U.S. the film was released as a double feature with The Manster (1959). The film’s initial critical reception was not overly positive, but subsequent theatrical and home video re-release of the film increased its reputation. Modern critics praise the film today for its poetic nature as well as being a notable influence on other filmmakers.

Plot:

A surgeon, feeling guilty over his daughter’s facial disfigurement–so horrible that she wears a mask–in an accident for which he was responsible, uses his assistant to kidnap young women. He attempts, without success, to transfer their faces to his daughter…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“If director Georges Franju is known for nothing else, Eyes Without a Face would be a formative, fantastic point of pride. As delicate and mannered as it is mean and vicious, this classic French fright film leaves a lasting, disturbing impression. The pleading, needing eyes of the physician’s daughter tells the entire story. While it may be difficult living without a recognizable visage, what’s being done in the name of her repair is far, far worse.” Bill Gibron, DVD Verdict

“Brasseur is absolutely spectacular as the mad surgeon who is totally obsessed with his secret work. The first sequence in which he carefully touches the face of the young girl on the operating table causes that strange ‘knotted-up’ feeling in the stomach which never truly disappears after it. The beautiful Valli is also very convincing as Brasseur’s loyal assistant. Scob’s performance has become legendary and for a good reason – her beautiful eyes reveal exactly how she feels while waiting to discover whether her father’s latest procedure was successful.” Doctor Svet Atanasov, Blu-ray.com

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

“A haunting and powerful film that digs as deeply and softly under the skin as the scalpels wielded by the crazed surgeon who lurks in its dark heart.” James Gracey, Behind the Couch

Eyes without a face dvd

Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk

Cast and characters:

  • Pierre Brasseur as Doctor Génessier, a University professor, physician and father of Christiane
  • Edith Scob as Christiane Génessier, Doctor Génessier’s daughter
  • Alida Valli as Louise, a woman who is Génessier’s assistant
  • François Guérin as Jacques Vernon, a student of Génessier and Christiane’s fiancé.
  • Juliette Mayniel as Edna Grüber, a young woman who becomes a victim of Doctor Génessier experiments after being befriended by Louise in Paris.
  • Alexandre Rignault as Inspector Parot
  • Béatrice Altariba as Paulette Mérodon

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