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Ted de Corsia
Janos Szaby is a kind, innocent immigrant to America. Just after he arrives though, he is caught in a fire and his face is horribly burned and disfigured. Although a skilled craftsman his hideous features make it impossible for him to get work, and driven by despair he is forced to turn to crime to live. He finds himself very proficient at that, and soon makes enough money to buy a very lifelike mask to hide his scars behind. He hates what he does, but is he in too deep to get out? Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
According to Webster's Dictionary, drivel is silly, stupid or nonsensical speech. That's a pretty good description of the screenplay of "The Face Behind the Mask." When we first meet Peter Lorre as Janos Szabo, he's a wide-eyed bumpkin, coming from somewhere in mittel Europe to begin a new life in New York. Naive? He makes Pollyanna look like a sophisticate. Then he's caught in a hotel fire, his face is hideously scarred and to make the money to get back his not-so-good looks (someone tells him about "plastic doctors,") he becomes a criminal mastermind. Then he meets a blind girl. Need we say more? Instead of showing Janos' daring and ingenious robberies, they're talked about. And talked about. Before and after. Appaently there wasn't enough money in the budget to film them. But long, stilted conversations about morarlity and fate are no problem. Lorre soldiers bravely through the dim-witted dialogue as if it really matters. That's acting. And Evelyn Keyes contributes sympathetically as the brave blind girl whose grateful for her "friends" on the radio and only wants a guide dog to complete her life. My only question -- didn't somebody read the scirpt before they shot it?
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