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The Second Face (1950)

From her hospital bed a woman recounts her life as a "plain Jane" while awaiting plastic surgeries for the injuries she has sustained in an automobile accident.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Paul Curtis
...
Claire Elwood
...
Jerry Allison
...
Lynn Hamilton
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Allan Wesson
...
Mrs. Lockridge
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Todd Williams
Frances Karath ...
Annie Curtis
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Dr. Vaughn - Plastic Surgeon
...
Mr. Hamilton (as Pierre Watkins)
...
Mr. West - Insurance Claims Adjustor
Grandon Rhodes ...
Floyd Moran
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Storyline

From her hospital bed a woman recounts her life as a "plain Jane" while awaiting plastic surgeries for the injuries she has sustained in an automobile accident.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No woman can forgive another woman's beauty!

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

1 December 1950 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Painful Dialogue Derails This Film
8 April 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The central problem with "The Second Face"--from which all other problems stem--is the script. I really can't see how any actor could speak the lines in this film and provide a subtle portrayal. The best scripts show the audience what is happening and reveal what the characters are thinking through action, as much as possible. "The Second Face", on the other hand, has the actors spelling out everything through dialogue.

The theme of the film is supposed to be about the transformation--from plain Jane to looker--of a young woman, via plastic surgery. This is a topic that was probably very interesting to the public but not well understood. The film was released in 1950 during a time that was seminal in the development of plastic surgery, partly due to WWII injuries. The Plastic Surgery Foundation had just been created and there were important advances in cleft lip and rhinoplasty techniques. Board certification integrated plastic surgery into the medical establishment. The Flammable Fabrics Act had been introduced at the urging of plastic surgeons. And breakthrough training in microvascular techniques was starting. No doubt the topic was in the news frequently.

But the film is ambushed by scene after scene that hit the viewer over the head with dialogue about how a homely woman can expect nothing out of life that she desires, certainly not romance. It dwells on people, especially men, being cruel to the main character, Phyllis (Ella Raines), tormenting her by spelling out how dismal her prospects are.

The print I watched (on TCM) also had a muddy soundtrack that was distracting.

The post-surgery transformation of Phyllis was interesting, using makeup and styling. But it is not enough to recommend this film.


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