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13 user 11 critic

Face of Fire (1959)

A local handyman saves a child in a fire, but the burns he receives disfigure his face so much that the townspeople avoid him.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ned Trescott
...
Monk Johnson
Bettye Ackerman ...
Grace Trescott
Miko Oscard ...
Jimmie Trescott
...
Jake Winter
...
The Judge (as Robert Simon)
...
Al Williams
Howard Smith ...
Sheriff Nolan
...
Ethel Winter
Jill Donohue ...
Bella Kovac
Harold Kasket ...
Reifsnyder, the barber
Althea Orr ...
(as Aletha Orr)
Charles Fawcett
Vernon Young
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Storyline

In 1898, in a small American town, Dr. Ned Trescott and his family live a quiet life. The family employs Monk Johnson as a handyman who also spends time with Dr. Trescott's son, Jimmie and is considered part of the family. Monk and Jimmie enjoy going fishing. Monk's fiancée, Bella, plans to marry him.One day, Monk goes to Bella's house to propose and she accepts. On his way back home, Monk hears clanging fire bells shattering the calm evening and sees the townspeople gathering at the Trescott house which is ablaze. Dr. Trescott and his wife are safe but their son is trapped inside the burning house. Monk runs inside the burning house and fetches Jimmie. But the flames block their exits and Monk must find an alternative escape route through Dr. Trescott's homemade basement lab. In the lab, Monk stumbles and falls. Chemicals on a table explode burning Monk's face. Dr. Trescott rushes into the basement lab through the back door and grabs Jimmie. Firemen save Monk but his face is badly ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

fire | child | sheriff | judge | fishing | See All (25) »

Taglines:

Stephen Crane's Suspense Story of the MAN WHO LOST HIS FACE! See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

9 August 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Face of the Fire  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Trivia

This movie was filmed in Sweden, with the cooperation of the Swedish film industry. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A virtually lost classic
11 May 2007 | by (los angeles, ca.) – See all my reviews

I will echo most other sentiments here. This is one of those fallen-through-the-cracks classics that deserves to be rediscovered. Perhaps it has lapsed into obscurity because it was released by Allied Artists, a company long out of business, and the rights to the film are now owned by Warner Brothers. I am hopeful, since they have recently released other AA titles such as BILLY BUDD and will soon release some low budget AA sci-fi like THE GIANT BEHEMOTH, that perhaps there is a glimmer of hope this forgotten gem will once more see the light of day. It really remains one of the most haunting genre films ever made, solid as a horror film, but really transcendent of genre, much as James Whale's original FRANKENSTEIN. The film is quite moving without resorting to the sentimental. Albert Band's direction is straightforward, yet very poignant and insightful. Although Band shows Whitmore's character, though brain-damaged, is clearly harmless, through the atmospheric B&W photography, much of it at night, we are drawn into the nightmarish hell of Whitmore's existence and the small town mob mentality that makes it even worse. The level of acting is first rate, from James Whitmore as the tragically disfigured handyman to Cameron Mitchell as the doctor, his former employer, one of the only people who sticks by him after his fiery accident. The supporting cast is likewise superb, including Bettye Ackerman, Royal Dano, Richard Erdman, Lois Maxwell. The whole film has a very strange ambiance, perhaps working even better since it was shot in Sweden in late 19th century period locations standing in for small town America. The barely noticeable off-kilter feel of the architecture, the perpetual dreamy twilight of the night scenes, the exquisite music score by Erik Nordgren add immeasurably to the surreally nightmarish storybook feel. The ending is also incredibly moving without being push-button manipulative. A really superior little film. Write to Warner Brothers Home Video and tell them to release it on DVD! Originally posted the preceding remarks several years ago. I was hoping Warner Archive would have released this by now on their manufacture-by-demand service; but still NOTHING. And yet 50% of the more obscure B movies they release are forgettable programmers or, even worse, dreck. They're still dragging their feet on other releases, too, that you would have thought they would have put out by now (such as full seasons of the cult TV favorites "77 Sunset Strip" and "Hawaiian Eye"). Write them for a DVD release on FACE OF FIRE!


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