Happy Halloween, everyone! Here’s my final review for the day, after my review of the surprisingly fun Trick ‘r Treat posted earlier today. Now let’s look at a cult French horror classic…
Eyes Without A Face (1960)
Directed by Georges Franju
Based on Les yeux sans visage by Jean Redon
Starring: Pierre Brasseur, Edith Scob, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel
Music by Maurice Jarre
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A surgeon causes an accident which leaves his daughter disfigured, and goes to extremes to give her a new face.
Here’s a quick list of links to my 2016 Blind Spot Reviews so far, including where I’d rank Eyes Without A Face:
10. Eyes Without A Face – 7/10
9. Phenomena – 7/10
8. An Education – 7/10
7. Magic – 7/10
6. Summer Wars – 7/10
5. True Romance – 7/10
4. THX 1138 – 7.5/10
3. Play Misty For Me – 7.5/10
2. Battle Royale – 8/10
1. Natural Born Killers – 8/10
I’d been wanting to see this for years as it sounded quite bizarre. Hence, it ended up on my Blind Spot list & I finally got around to buying it on DVD. I can’t say it quite lived up to my high expectations, although it’s a very good movie and I would imagine it must have been very shocking back in 1960.
The story here is the exact one I expected. Although similar stories have been done since, I’m thinking this must be one of the (and maybe the very) first to do it. I was extremely surprised at just how much was actually shown… I expected to see nothing but we see it all in graphic detail (for 1960, anyway). Wow! No wonder it angered some people at the time from the little I’ve read of it. Don’t get me wrong – it’s funny now how blatantly obvious the special effects & make-up are but this must have been like the Saw of 1960.
I’m struggling with what to say about this film as I’m not as well-versed on those that are pre-1970 but I do wish to expand my knowledge in this area. The main thing I’ll say is that I absolutely loved how stylish this film was. The mask the disfigured daughter is made to wear is fantastic. So frightening in its simplicity. Plus she wears the best nightdress/housecoat thingy EVER. I wear sweatpants & T-shirts to bed. Why the hell don’t we still dress the way women did in the 1960s? They looked so groomed & lovely at all times. Even one of the film’s victims still looked immaculate afterwards & I just thought “Damn! Poor girl… but I love that dress!”.
I know I’ve put this as my “least favorite” of my Blind Spot films so far but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not good – I just enjoyed the rest slightly more. I think I was mainly disappointed that it was more straightforward than I expected plus the acting was a little off (mainly the father & daughter, although the father’s “secretary” and the other women in the film were good). It also wasn’t all that deep – this is a topic that could’ve been explored in-depth. Beauty on the inside, the ugliness of human nature, blah blah blah. But it’s just a pretty basic crime thriller, albeit with a gruesome twist.
However, it’s stylish as hell. Just look at the images in this post – I love the look of it all. I’m very glad that I put this on my Blind Spot list & finally got around to watching it. Black & white horror is something I truly wish to further explore & will happily take recommendations from fellow bloggers on this genre. I would imagine that Eyes Without A Face is one that will easily remain a favorite of mine within the black & white horror genre, though, as it’s one that could never be easily forgotten once seen. Shockingly beautiful, I’d love to have seen the reaction of audiences when this came out. It’s not quite up there with either Nosferatu (1922) or The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920) for me but, like those, it’s so ahead of its time & there’s no denying the amazing imagery in all of them. We need more horror movies with style nowadays…
My Rating: 7/10
Oh! I totally forgot to mention that I found the movie’s score, from acclaimed composer Maurice Jarre, interestingly bizarre. It was at times too distracting but I love the Jean-Michel Jarre connection (he’s Maurice’s son). Who doesn’t like a bit of Oxygène??
However, I have to end with this music clip instead. I’m sorry! This is just SO stuck in my head since watching this. 😉
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I have not heard of this film. The images and the bits of description you have here reminds me of a South Korean horror film called Cinderella. It seems clear that that movie was based on this movie. I suspect you would like that film much better.
Hmm. I’ll have to look into that one! I do love a good South Korean horror. Thanks! : )
Amazing performance from Edith Cobb in this film and the scene where they swap the faces is still chilling to think about – and this was in the chaste days of 1960!! 😮
Ah! A comment! I think that’s comment number two… No one likes arty French stuff! 😦 lol. I know – I was genuinely shocked at how much was shown in this! This must have been very controversial at the time. I mean, it looks quite obvious how it’s being done now but I still felt a bit queasy. Think it helped that it was in black & white – looked slightly more believable. : )
Yup, there are heathens out there who need to stop being scared of subtitles… 😦
It’s weird – I didn’t even really notice that this was in French… ! (Yes, I watched it with subtitles. Don’t worry. Lol) 😉 I don’t know French in the slightest but noticed that some words almost matched English. I suppose I watch a lot of stuff in Japanese, which sounds far more “foreign” to the ear so it barely registered that this was in a language I don’t know. Or something like that. 🙂
So the French names of the cast and the French title graphic of “Les yeux sans visage” wasn’t enough of a clue that wasn’t an English language film? 😉 😛
Seriously though Subtitlephobia is a growing problem that is blighting film goers and the international film scene alike, and it needs to be suppressed ASAP! 😀
Well, the problem is that most millennials can only read textspeak…. ; )
It’s not just kids but oldies too. People – especially over here – still think foreign films means pretentious, black and white, all talking, glacial paced and impenetrable arthouse fare. 😡
Hehe. Well, my 7-year-old managed Japanese with English subtitles really well the other night…. 😉 (Yep – I saw Your Name)
Yeah, rub it in why don’t you… 😮
; ) I think I read that they’re bringing it to more cinemas after a positive reaction to it in the UK?
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