The Face Behind the Mask (1941)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  16 January 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 613 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 10 critic

A disfigured watchmaker with a grudge against society embarks on a life of crime.



(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Janos 'Johnny' Szabo
Lt. James 'Jim' O'Hara
John Tyrrell ...
Cy Schindell ...
Benson (as Al Seymour)
Stanley Brown ...
James Seay ...
Jeff Jeffries
Warren Ashe ...
Johnson, Reporter
Charles C. Wilson ...
Chief O'Brien (as Charles Wilson)
George McKay ...
Terry Finnegan


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What strange terror does this mask conceal? See more »






Release Date:

16 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Gesicht hinter der Maske  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shooting lasted from Nov. 6-26, 1940, released January 16, 1941. See more »


References I Married Adventure (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

An excellent B movie
26 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I caught this a few times on TV in the late 1970s. It only played late at night (past midnight).

Peter Lorre plays a kind, happy man whose face is disfigured in a fire. He is rejected by his girlfriend and left alone and filled with despair. He turns to a life of crime and eventually becomes very successful. He makes a mask to hide his disfigured features and falls in love with a beautiful girl (Evelyn Keyes)...who is blind! He tries to go straight for her...but he can't escape his life of crime or his hatred of his own scarred face.

A no budget B film. Very short (runs only a little over an hour) but well made and superbly acted by Lorre. This has a lot more depth than you would expect from a quickie B picture. Ankers especially takes the thankless "girl" role and makes her character fresh and appealing. This has sadly disappeared from TV and was never put on video or DVD (as far as I know). TCM did show it recently and it was great to see the movie still holds up.

Highly recommended.

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