|Vintage Pulp||Mar 2 2009|
Les Yeux san visage, aka Eyes without a Face, is a macabre and artful French film about a plastic surgeon, played by Pierre Brasseur, who is obsessed with finding a new face for his disfigured daughter. Like most mad scientists, Brasseur is worthy of both pity and scorn, as his corrosive guilt over having caused the accident that ruined his daughter's life drives him to steal faces from other women. Every mad scientist has a sidekick, and here the role is ably filled by Alida Valli, who noir buffs remember from Orson Welles’ great The Third Man.
Anyway, you just know a scheme involving kidnapping women and stealing their faces has to go awry at some point, but to find out what happens you’ll have to rent the film. In the meantime enjoy the brilliant promo art, which comes in two versions, both featuring the film’s central image—that of disfigured Edith Scob gazing forlornly from behind a white mask. Les Yeux san visage received mixed reviews when it opened, but art has a way of outlasting critics, and now director Georges Franju’s brooding little horror tale is an acknowledged classic. It even inspired Billy Idol to write a hit song—and that can't be bad. Les Yeux san visage premiered in France today in 1960.