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Anna Holm is a blackmailer, who because of a facial scar, despises everyone she encounters. When a plastic surgeon performs an operation to correct this disfigurement, Anna becomes torn between the hope of starting a new life, and a return to her dark past. Written by
Joan Crawford has one of her first great roles in this 1941 remake of a Swedish film that starred Ingrid Bergman. And she is superb. She plays a complex woman scarred in a fire caused by her drunken father. She has grown up as an outcast of society and turns to blackmailing as a way to make a living. Through a series of events she meets a plastic surgeon (Melvyn Douglas) who operates and transforms her life. But she is ensnared with villainous Conrad Veidt who wants to kill his nephew so he can inherit the family fortune.
Part thriller part courtroom drama, A Woman's Face gives Crawford the kind of role that showed off all her talents as an actress. This film, along with Mildred Pierce, Possessed, and Humoresque, ranks as one of her best. The entire cast is top notch.
Douglas is fine as the compassionate surgeon and Veidt is terrific as the murderous uncle. Marjorie Main has one of her best roles as the jealous housekeeper. Reginald Owen, Connie Gilchrist, and Donald Meek are Crawford's band of thieves. Albert Basserman is the old counsel. Richard Nichols is the cute kid. Osa Massen is Douglas' pig of a wife. Henry Kolker is the judge and Henry Daniell a lawyer.
Great direction (George Cukor) and cinematography. Exciting sleigh race at the finale. But first and foremost this is a Joan Crawford picture. Why didn't she get Oscar nominated for this gem?
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