Eyes Without a Face (original title: Les yeux sans visage) is a 1960 French horror film directed by Georges Franju from a screenplay co-written by Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac, Jean Redon and Claude Sautet. Based on Jean Redon’s novel.
The movie stars 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 censors, the film’s release in Europe caused controversy nevertheless. Critical reaction ranged from praise to disgust.
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.
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…
“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.” 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.” Blu-ray.com
“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.” Behind the Couch
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Cast and characters:
Pierre Brasseur … Le docteur Génessier
Alida Valli … Louise
Juliette Mayniel … Edna Grüber
Alexandre Rignault … Inspector Parot
Béatrice Altariba … Paulette Meroudon (as Beatrice Altariba)
Claude Brasseur … Inspector
Michel Etcheverry … Forensic surgeon
Yvette Etiévant … La mère du petit malade (as Yvette Etievent)
René Génin … Henri Tessot
Lucien Hubert … Un homme à l’enterrement
Marcel Pérès … Un homme à l’enterrement (as Marcel Pères)
François Guérin … Doctor Jacques Vernon (as Francois Guerin)
Edith Scob … Christiane Génessier