In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's ... See full summary »
The Army nurses on Bataan need help badly, but when it arrives, it sure isn't what they expected. A motley crew, including a Southern belle, a waitress, and a stripper, show up. Many ... See full summary »
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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