MOVIE REVIEWS

Share your thoughts. We appreciate it!

Write Review

The face behind the mask, it's mutated, hideous, a horrible nightmare. Out of which I can never awake.

The Face Behind The Mask is directed by Robert Florey and collectively written by Paul Jarrico, Arthur Levinson and Allen Vincent. It stars Peter Lorre, Evelyn Keyes, Don Beddoe and George E. Stone. Music is by Sidney Cutner and cinematography by Franz Planer.

Hungarian immigrant Janos Szaby (Lorre) arrives in New York City full of hope for the future. Unfortunately he is trapped in a hotel fire which leaves his face severely disfigured. Even though he is a skilled craftsman he is refused employment by many on account of his looks. At his lowest ebb he turns to crime to fund the making of a face mask to hide his disfigurement, while soon enough he is running a little league crime outfit when he happens upon blind Helen Williams (Keyes) and finds a new meaning to life…

The sands of time plays the death rattle.

Lorre dismissed it as a bit of guff, but The Face Behind The Mask showcases one of his greatest performances. It's a film that beats a black heart, where fatalism is dripped over proceedings, the core of the narrative is the shattering of the American dream, and the makers here are not shy to put forward an uncaring society. After a breezy beginning the narrative becomes relentlessly bleak, right up to, and including, a no holds barred chilling finale that's preceded by a monstrous twist.

Florey (also doing some of his best work) and Planer add stark imagery and scene setting that belies the B budget and quick turnover of the production (less than two weeks). A bleak harbour sequence is tonally adroit, the face mask surgery with faces adorning the walls is deliciously macabre, there's torture, too, and oblique backgrounds and shadow play. The dialogue may sometimes be too weak for the haunting story, but the film rises above it because of skills of the cast (Stone and Keyes excellent support for Lorre) and makers alike.

Part noir, part horror and part social drama, it's a film of differing attributes. It's not one for anyone looking to be cheered up, but for those who like to lurk in the shadows and succumb to the dark underbelly of cinema; this is a treat. 8/10

Movie Review: Paris Can Wait

Movie Review: Paris Can Wait

May 29, 2017

If this Eleanor Coppola film is worth it, Diane Lane makes it so. If 'Paris C...

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

May 26, 2017

The fifth installment of the Disney franchise founders despite its starpower....

Movie Review: Alien Covenant

Movie Review: Alien Covenant

May 19, 2017

Astronauts make increasingly illogical decisions in latest Alien installment....

Movie Review: A Quiet Passion

Movie Review: A Quiet Passion

May 19, 2017

The life of Emily Dickinson is explored in this subtly humorous film. Cynthia...

Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

May 12, 2017

Guy Ritchie forges cockney swagger, multiple medieval legends; it's weird. Ye...

Pirates of the Caribbean Tracking for $90 Million Opening Weekend

Pirates of the Caribbean Tracking for $90 Million Opening Weekend

May 10, 2017

This May the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise returns to the silver screen ...

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

May 04, 2017

An entire universe of gleeful violence and a great soundtrack. He may be cute...

Movie Review: My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea

Movie Review: My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea

May 04, 2017

Being in high school is a lot like being on an island; this island just happe...