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
Director Cukor wanted Anna's recital of her life story to be done in a tired, mechanical fashion, so he had Crawford repeat the multiplication tables over and over until he got the monotonous tone he was looking for. Then, he rolled the cameras. See more »
When Anna first discusses the potential murder of the child, she alternately has her arms crossed in front of her chest, and outstretched holding a cigarette. See more »
Thanks to "A Woman's Face," Joan Crawford's slumped career had a badly needed revival, and Greta Garbo's career ended. Garbo had a choice of "A Woman's Face" or "Two-Faced Woman," but she refused to play a character with a deformity. So she made the disastrous "Two-Faced Woman" instead and retired, her face free of scars and her life free of films.
Ingrid Bergman made the original movie in Sweden, and in the hands of MGM, it translated quite well with a superb performance from Joan Crawford, perhaps the best of her career, as a scarred, bitter woman who makes her living from blackmail. Her story is told in a series of flashbacks, as each character testifies at the woman's trial.
The performances, from MGM's able stable, are very good - Melvyn Douglas as a doctor, Conrad Veidt as an evil man who wants to use Crawford for his own ends (he described himself in this film as "Lucifer in a tuxedo"), Osa Massen, Albert Basserman, Donald Meek, Henry Daniell, George Zucco, and Marjorie Main. Richard Nichols, as the little boy Lars-Erik, sports the same southern accent in Sweden as he did in France in "All This and Heaven, Too." Crawford is excellent, and one wonders if the role of Anna didn't strike a chord with her given her difficult childhood. Under Cukor's direction, she handles the role beautifully.
A very good movie, and an exciting sleigh ride at the end that you won't want to miss.
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