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Les Yeux Sans Visage (1959) - George Franju

Related: 1959 - European horror - French cinema - horror film - surgery - Georges Franju - mad scientist

Les Yeux Sans Visage (1959) - Georges Franju

Les Yeux Sans Visage (1959) - Georges Franju [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux sans Visage) is a 1959 French film directed by Georges Franju and co-written by the duo Boileau-Narcejac. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyes_Without_a_Face [Sept 2005]

Described by Pauline Kael as "[p]erhaps the most elegant horror movie ever made," Eyes Without a Face is the story of a mad doctor played by Pierre Brasseur and his efforts to replace the face of his disfigured daughter, played by Edith Scob, with the faces of murdered women. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Franju [Apr 2005]

Adapted from a novel by Jean Redon. [Oct 2005]

Amazon review

Georges Franju brings a haunting poetry to this lyrical and horrifying 1959 French classic. Dr. Genessier (Pierre Brasseur), a famed plastic surgeon, lures a young woman to his secluded mansion with the help of his mistress Louise (Alida Valli), where he proceeds to remove their faces in an attempt to restore his daughter's scarred visage. Christiane (Edith Scob), disfigured in car accident caused by her guilt-ridden father, hides behind a spooky blank mask that exposes only her sad, lonely eyes, which seem to lose a little more life after each failed graft. Franju's cool presentation gives an unsettling edge to the picture, from the uncomfortably quiet family dinners to Christiane's hesitant explorations of her father's laboratory to the unflinching views of Genessier's bloody operations. Reminiscent of Cocteau's fantasy imagery in Beauty and the Beast, Franju creates an eerie poetry of the doctor's sadistic experiments, culminating in an astonishingly brutal and beautiful finale. The screenplay was cowritten by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, authors of the novels which became Les Diaboliques and Vertigo. Originally titled Les Yeux Sans Visage upon its original French release, the film was cut, dubbed, and renamed The Horror Chamber of Doctor Faustus for American distribution in 1962, but was restored years later for American re-release. --Sean Axmaker, amazon.com

More films exploring this theme

  • The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962) - Jesus Franco [Amazon US]
    Jesús Franco, Spain's crazed cult auteur, had made a couple of features before The Awful Dr. Orloff, but this infamous thriller (reportedly Spain's first horror film) gave birth to Franco's brand of erotic horror and surreal madness. The story of a mad surgeon who kidnaps and disfigures beautiful showgirls in an attempt to restore the face of his scarred daughter is right out of George Franju's Eyes Without a Face. The style, however, is a mix of foggy Universal monster movies and sexed-up Hammer horror, which Franco pushes to the limits of Spain's 1960s censorship restrictions (and beyond). Gaunt, hollowed Howard Vernon plays the sadistic surgeon Orloff (a role he revived in a number of sequels), and Ricardo Valle dons a phony but freaky mask to play his grunting, blind, bug-eyed henchman, Morpho, who has a savage habit of taking a big bite of the victims.

    It's a smooth, elegantly orchestrated thriller with handsome sets and vivid locations, and the fogbound cobblestone streets, dark alleys, and eerily empty mansions create a genuinely spooky ambiance. He also tosses in a wild, creepy, thoroughly modern experimental score. Franco went on to direct more than 150 films under a dozen pseudonyms, most of which make the brief flashes of flesh and perversity here look tame, but this trendsetting landmark is still considered one of his greatest. Image's new widescreen edition, mastered from a gorgeous French print, is reportedly restored but contains some abrupt transitions and jump cuts. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com

  • La Rose Ecorchée/The Blood Rose (1969) - Claude Mulot
    The same theme explored by Claude Mulot

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