Eyes Without a Face

Eyes Without a Face

4.2 4
Director: Georges Franju, Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob

Cast: Georges Franju, Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob

     
 

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French director Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) is an unsettling, sometimes poetic horror film. Pierre Brasseur plays a brilliant plastic surgeon, Prof. Genessier, who has vowed to restore the face of his daughter, Christiane (Edith Scob), who was mutilated in an automobile accident. With the help of his assistant (Alida Valli

Overview

French director Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) is an unsettling, sometimes poetic horror film. Pierre Brasseur plays a brilliant plastic surgeon, Prof. Genessier, who has vowed to restore the face of his daughter, Christiane (Edith Scob), who was mutilated in an automobile accident. With the help of his assistant (Alida Valli), he kidnaps young women, surgically removes their facial features, and attempts to graft their beauty onto his daughter's hideous countenance. This naturally has an adverse effect on the "donors," some of whom commit suicide rather than go through life faceless. Franju's haunting, muted handling of basic horror material is what lifts Eyes Without a Face out of the ordinary and into the realm of near-classic. When the film failed to draw crowds under its original title, however, the distributors decided to exploit it as a two-bit "scare" flick with the new title The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Often cited as one of the most poetic horror films ever committed to celluloid, French director Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face has a lingering effect that conjures more melancholy malaise than outright fright. Franju opts for a deliberate pacing that perfectly compliments the somber tone of his dark tale, and cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan's moody nighttime photography provides the ideal visual representation of the inner turmoil experienced by both the father who longs to make up for past indiscretions (regardless of the pain he inflicts to achieve his goal) and the daughter whose horrendous appearance serves as a constant reminder of the mistake that will haunt him to the grave. As the nearby howls of caged hounds haunt the quiet halls of the doctor's vast estate, viewers are constantly reminded of the horrors set to be unleashed at a moment's notice. Considering that such an artful "horror" film with so many expressionistic embellishments was released by its original stateside distributor, United Artists, under the lurid banner The Horror Chamber of Doctor Faustus, audiences expecting a blood-soaked fright-fest were no doubt disappointed. Though the film does offer a few shots that remain fairly shocking even decades after the film's 1960 release, the true horror lies in the madness of regret and the torture of remaining dead to those one holds dearest, despite living on to experience their shattering despair. In addition to soulful performances by leads Pierre Brasseur and Edith Scob, Italian screen veteran Alida Valli provides a memorably sinister turn as Prof. Genessier's (Brasseur) devoted and unquestioning assistant. Re-released to stateside theaters in mid-2003, Franju's downbeat frightener reached a whole new generation, who embraced the director's seductively dark vision.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/15/2013
UPC:
0715515110815
Original Release:
1960
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
10,215

Special Features

New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; High-definition digital restoration of Blood of the Beasts, Georges Franju's 1949 documentary about the slaughterhouses of Paris; Archival interviews with Franju on the horror genre, cinema, and the making of Blood of the Beasts; New interview with actor Edith Scob; Excerpts from Les Grand-Pères du Crime, a 1985 documentary about Eyes With a Face writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac; Trailers; Plus: a booklet featuring essays by novelist Patrick McGrath and film historian David Kalat

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Pierre Brasseur Prof. Genessier
Alida Valli Louise
Edith Scob Christiane Genessier
Francois Guerin Jacques Vernon
Juliette Mayniel Edna Gruber
Beatrice Altariba Paulette
Yvette Etievant Actor
Lucien Hubert Actor
Marcel Pérès Actor
Alexandre Rignault Insp. Parot
Charles Blavette Actor
Claude Brasseur Inspector
Michel Etcheverry Forensic surgeon
René Génin Emile Tessot

Technical Credits
Georges Franju Director,Screenwriter
Antoine Archimbaud Sound/Sound Designer
Pierre Boileau Screenwriter
Jules Borkon Producer
Auguste Capelier Production Designer
Maurice Jarre Score Composer
Gerard Klein Makeup
Thomas Narcejac Screenwriter
Gilbert Natot Editor
Jean Redon Screenwriter
Claude Sautet Asst. Director,Screenwriter
Eugen Schüftan Cinematographer

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Eyes Without a Face 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Genuinely haunting slice of classic French cinema,that manages to be both poetic,tender,brutal and unflinching in it's honesty. The sad and sordid tale of a great surgeon's need to repair his daughter's face,damaged by his own carelessness,at any cost,even through disfigurement of others and loss of life,the movie benefits from shadowy,brilliant black and white cinematography and understated performances. It has,of course,provided lesser film-makers with the template to attack it's storyline with less fulfilling results (the nasty and meretricious Peter Cushing vehicle CORRUPTION from 1967,for one),but no-one has come near Franju's sense of documentary realism coupled with near surrealistic beauty. Edith Scob's willowy performance,emoting via body language and great use of emotion in the eyes from behind the blank mask,is truly astonishing,and there is great support from Pierre Brasseur as her obsessive father and genre fave Alida Valli as his assistant/confidant. Also on the dvd is Franju's near unwatchable short,Les Sang Des Betes,which could make vegetarians instantly of anyone who watches it!! Sometimes it's sobering to remind oneself of how exactly the meat on our plate ends up there! Powerful,emotive yet detached and very much in the style of the classic feature film on this disc. An essential buy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bryan_Cassiday_author More than 1 year ago
This is one of the dullest horror movies I've ever seen--almost as dull as "Carnival of Souls." It was only with great effort on my part that I could keep my eyes open throughout it. Each scene seems prolonged unnecessarily to the point of tedium.

The story, about a doctor trying to save his wife's ruined face with skin grafts that he surgically removes from beautiful women that he imprisons, is predictable and offers no surprises.

Jess Franco did virtually the same story with more scares in it in "The Awful Dr. Orloff." Granted "Orloff," not a great movie by any means, came out a year after "Eyes without a Face," but even if it is a rip-off, it has more creepy action to it than the listless "Eyes."

"Eyes" is structurally sound (save for the annoyingly long, ennui-inducing scenes) and the plot is well constructed, and for these reasons I'll give it three stars, but if you're looking for chills or suspense, this isn't the movie for you. It didn't find its way to my subconscious, like an effective horror movie should.

I don't want to give away the ending, but the liberated dogs provide the most excitement in the final scenes of "Eyes without a Face."

--Bryan Cassiday, author of "Fete of Death"