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>
Part of the SON OF SHOCK package of 21 titles released to television in 1958, which followed the original SHOCK THEATER release of 52 features one year earlier. This was also one of the 12 Columbia titles, the other 61 all being Universals. See more »
Peter Lorre turns in one of his finest performances as a Hungarian watchmaker coming to the United Staes to make a new life for himself and someday bring his girl across the big pond to be with him. Lorre's infectious optimism and bright outlook come off very effectively which makes the performance all the better when he has his face hideously burned in a hotel fire and, when no one will give him a chance to work, turns reluctantly to a life of crime. Lorre's range as an actor is seldom as apparent as in this movie with his jovial, good-natured immigrant, to his depressing, melancholic, disfigured self searching for the truth behind what he believed America afforded him, to his suave, intelligent, better-than-your-average hood, to his sympathetic dealings with a blind woman with whom he falls in love. The story is well-paced, has some interesting twists, and gives Lorre many opportunities to shine. Director Robert Florey does a quality job behind the lens, and all of the supporting cast help aid the film with Evelyn Keyes giving a particularly good turn as the blind girl. I loved the ending - and the truth - that was shone to exist in Lorre's character despite all the negative things society had done toward him. For a little B picture, The Man Behind the Mask is good movie-making for its time.
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