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The Face Behind the Mask (1941)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 16 January 1941 (USA)
A disfigured watchmaker with a grudge against society embarks on a life of crime.

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(screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Lt. James 'Jim' O'Hara
...
...
Watts
...
Benson (as Al Seymour)
...
Harry
...
Jeff Jeffries
Warren Ashe ...
Johnson, Reporter
...
Chief O'Brien (as Charles Wilson)
George McKay ...
Terry Finnegan
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Storyline

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 <kyousten@bev.net>

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What strange terror does this mask conceal? See more »


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Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Gesicht hinter der Maske  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

Dinky: What do you get out of bein' dead? Layin' in a grave ain't my idea of life.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Who Is Henry Jaglom? (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Immigrant Abroad
15 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

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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