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Leathernose (1952)

Nez de cuir (original title)
After being hurt in the face, Count de Roger Tinchebraye is forced to hide his disfigured face behind a leather mask. Dispirited for a while, he decides to become a Casanova-like seductor. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Roger de Tainchebraye
Françoise Christophe ...
Judith de Rieusses
...
Le marquis de Brives
Mariella Lotti ...
Hélène Josias
...
Le docteur Marchal
Yvonne de Bray ...
Marie-Bonne
Valentine Tessier ...
Simone de Tainchebraye
Marcel André ...
Josias
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Bayard ...
Un invité
Denis d'Inès ...
Le duc de Laval
Jacques Denoël
Blanche Denège ...
Une invitée
Anne-Marie Duverney ...
Une servante
Giani Esposito ...
Un jeune invité
Michel Etcheverry ...
Un gentilhomme
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Storyline

After being hurt in the face, Count de Roger Tinchebraye is forced to hide his disfigured face behind a leather mask. Dispirited for a while, he decides to become a Casanova-like seductor. When he meets true love, cynical Roger does not believe in it and lets pure Judith marry an old marquis. But once Judith's husband dies, he sees Judith again, shows her his disfigured face, which does not discourage the young woman from loving him. Nevertheless, he distances himself from her forever Written by Guy Bellinger

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

26 March 1952 (France)  »

Also Known As:

De ridder van de liefde  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
LEATHERNOSE (Yves Allegret, 1952) **1/2
21 November 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I was under the impression that this was a romantic swashbuckler in the vein of CYRANO DE BERGERAC (1950), given its deformed protagonist; the fact that it starred the athletic Jean Marais seemed to point even more in this direction. However, the character it draws most on from the actor's canon up to that time is The Beast (ugly but desperately in need of love) in Jean Cocteau's sublime fantasy BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946)!

Actually, the opening sequences of the film are pretty grim – with Marais picked up half-dead from the battlefield and then discovering that his facial features are ruined. Still, he slowly recovers thanks to the doctor played by Massimo Girotti – bemoaning his fate, the latter offers Marais some consolation by confessing that he was himself rendered a eunuch by the war (both actors' performances are very good)! Anyway, the hero soon throws all initial gossip aside and is back at what he does best – romance every young woman who crosses his path (rather than squirm at his appearance, which he covers behind a leather strap and eventually a mask, they seem to find him even more fascinating!).

That said, his attitude has changed to a more cynical one – resulting in a number of heartbroken (and usually married) women. He's even cruel to the one girl he genuinely loves (Francoise Christophe); his alienating behavior forces her into a loveless marriage with a much older man (but who happens to be friends with Marais). When the latter's death results to have been an unnatural one, the hero leaves in disgust but is crippled soon after in a riding accident! He subsequently takes to hiding in a convent; following a final encounter with the leading lady, he's visited by Girotti – to whom he admits that life has let him down regardless.

Though undeniably stylish, the film is far from the typically breezy costumer (there are, in fact, no action sequences to speak of apart from the short scene on the battlefield and a stag hunt with dogs which ends in a stream) and, ultimately, isn't quite in the same league as the contemporaneous FANFAN LA TULIPE (1952; which, hopefully, is a future Criterion release). LEATHERNOSE is let down by a relentlessly verbose script which generally sees the French aristocrats gathered for a hunt, a ball or a dinner engagement discussing the hero's exploits, Marais himself juggling one affair with the next in the middle of the night, and some soul-searching in the clandestine meetings with Christophe (including a self-unmasking).

As I said earlier, the star had always been a regular in French costume pictures but he became even more so after the dissolution of his collaboration with the afore-mentioned Jean Cocteau in the early 1950s – almost as if he set himself up for the title of the French Errol Flynn! In fact, starting with the film under review, he made a multitude of period pieces/swashbucklers – including film versions of perennial favorites like THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (1955), LE BOSSU (1960), CAPTAIN FRACASSE (1961), THE IRON MASK (1962), etc. – but, given that he rarely had notable directors at his disposal, practically all of them are virtually forgotten today. Having said that, Yves Allegret was a distinguished director and this film is indeed pictorially impressive (courtesy of the black-and-white cinematography of Roger Hubert) – although, at times, the beat-up print I viewed was far too dark and murky. Incidentally, Marais and Allegret had previously collaborated on MIRACLES ONLY HAPPEN ONCE (1951; an Italian TV screening of which I recently missed out on).


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