Up 28,042 this week

Face of Fire (1959)

 |  Drama  |  9 August 1959 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 175 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 2 critic

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



, (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 873 titles
created 24 Aug 2011
a list of 891 titles
created 16 Jan 2012
a list of 32 titles
created 15 Jul 2012
a list of 2560 titles
created 21 Oct 2012
a list of 3566 titles
created 05 Jul 2013

Related Items

Search for "Face of Fire" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Face of Fire (1959)

Face of Fire (1959) on IMDb 6.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Face of Fire.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Mask (1961)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young archaeologist believes he is cursed by a mask that causes him to have weird nightmares and possibly to murder. Before committing suicide, he mails the mask to his psychiatrist, Dr. ... See full summary »

Director: Julian Roffman
Stars: Paul Stevens, Claudette Nevins, Bill Walker
Hellbenders (1967)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An ex-Confederate and his sons plan to use stolen money as a way to revive the Confederacy.

Director: Sergio Corbucci
Stars: Joseph Cotten, Norma Bengell, Al Mulock
The Overcoat (1952)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Based on Nikolai Gogol's story with the location changed from Russia to Italy and the time changed to the present (1952), the story is about a poor city-hall clerk (Renato Rascel) whose ... See full summary »

Director: Alberto Lattuada
Stars: Renato Rascel, Yvonne Sanson, Giulio Stival
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An unmarried nightclub singer, Vivanne Bruce, is thrown on her own when her lover, Jerry Nolan, is arrested for murder. Searching for a place to live, she eventually finds a room in a ... See full summary »

Director: Gordon Parry
Stars: Freda Jackson, René Ray, Lois Maxwell
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An anthology of four horror stories revolving around a mysterious rental house in the UK.

Director: Peter Duffell
Stars: John Bryans, John Bennett, Christopher Lee
The Mob (1951)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Police detective Damico, outwitted by mob killer Blackie Clay, is nominally suspended; actually he goes undercover (as Tim Flynn, ex-con longshoreman) to find Clay and expose the waterfront... See full summary »

Director: Robert Parrish
Stars: Broderick Crawford, Betty Buehler, Richard Kiley
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A former British spy stumbles into in a plot to overthrow Communism with the help of a supercomputer. But who is working for whom?

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Michael Caine, Karl Malden, Ed Begley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

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.

Director: Jack Bernhard
Stars: Ella Raines, Bruce Bennett, Rita Johnson
Powder River (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In 1875, ex-lawman Chino Bull becomes temporary town marshal when his gold prospecting partner is robbed and killed in Powder River country but Chino runs into the murderous Logan brothers.

Director: Louis King
Stars: Rory Calhoun, Corinne Calvet, Cameron Mitchell
Cosmos (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Witold just failed his law-school exams and Fuchs has just quit his job at a Parisian fashion company. Arriving for a few days away at a so-called family guesthouse, they are greeted by a ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Zulawski
Stars: Sabine Azéma, Jean-François Balmer, Jonathan Genet
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In WW2, U.S. Army Major Joppolo and his troops are tasked with administering the war damaged Italian town of Adano where the locals decry the loss of the town bell.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Gene Tierney, John Hodiak, William Bendix
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of the fight of a small-town newspaper to free an innocent girl of a murder charge, with the publisher of a metropolitan city newspaper heading, by forced circumstances, the opposing forces.

Director: Cy Endfield
Stars: Dan Duryea, Herbert Marshall, Gale Storm


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ned Trescott
Monk Johnson
Bettye Ackerman ...
Grace Trescott
Miko Oscard ...
Jimmie Trescott
Jake Winter
Robert F. Simon ...
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


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


Who Would Dare Lift the Mask! See more »




See all certifications »





Release Date:

9 August 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Face of the Fire  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stage and television actress Bettye Ackerman made her motion picture debut in this film. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of Cinema's True Lost Gems
4 May 2015 | by (Whiting, Indiana) – See all my reviews

In 1958, director Albert Band and writer Louis Garfinkle, having produced two low-budget films (including the cult-ish "I Bury the Living"), launched their third project, an adaptation of Stephen Crane's 1899 short story "The Monster". A study of small-town mentality and social attitudes in the wake of a shocking personal tragedy---in which a much-admired handyman heroically saves the local doctor's son from a fire--- "Face of Fire" seemed a rather risky cinematic endeavor during a time when American distributors were clamoring for schlocky, Grade-Z drive-in fare. But Band and Garfinkle forged ahead.

They struck a deal with Sweden''s Svensk Film Studio, filming in a small Swedish town that could easily pass for New England c. 1900. Most cast and major crew were American, including a number of American actors currently working in Sweden, with a few Brits imported for good measure.

Direction and script created a uniquely "foreign" atmosphere to the film--- dreamy, lyrical, almost surreal in its episodic construction, with sensitive and compelling performances by Cameron Mitchell, James Whitmore, Betty Ackerman, and Royal Dano. The artistry of cinematographer Edward Vorkapich (son of the legendary Hollywood cinematographer Laszlo Vorkapich) renders consistently beautiful visuals, which seem to envelop the action in a slightly un-real, pastoral veneer (including an eerie forest hunt scene, when an actual thunderstorm approached in the distance during filming). The musical score is by none other than Erik Nordgren, who scored Ingmar Bergman's major films of the same period.

After handyman Monk Johnson's (Whitmore) face is horribly burned in a house fire (rendering him mentally incapacitated as well), the great moral dilemma begins for his loyal boss, Dr. Ned Trescott (Mitchell); should he keep and care for Monk out of gratitude but jeopardize his medical practice due to the fear and hysteria of the townspeople, or should he abandon Monk, send him away to an institution, and thus save his own livelihood?

Such is the decision that Trescott is forced to make in the penultimate scene, when the townsmen approach him with an offer to take Monk off his hands (a fascinatingly constructed scene which Garfinkle invented for the film--- and excellently played by Mitchell and Ackerman). At the same time, just outside the window, little Jimmy Trescott has "betrayed" Monk---his savior--- by joining his playmates in the yard as they mock and torment the hulking handyman. The scene is almost unbearable for Trescott, who very quietly says to his wife "They're right, Grace", indicating that he's decided Monk has to go. And just at that moment, the church bells begin to ring in the distance...the same bells that rang long ago the night of that traumatic fire, while little Jimmy slept....and Monk, his horribly scarred face now hidden beneath a black veil, seems to remember the agony of that night...seems to relive it, as the young boy watches, at first repelled....until Monk calls out to him by his familiar nickname, "Pollywog", just as he did when he rescued the boy from the fire.

An overwhelmingly moving scene (capped off by Erik Nordgren's grand chorale treatment of Monk's tender love theme), which dissolves into the brief final shot, itself a reverse image of the very opening of the film.

"Face of Fire" accomplishes what it does by the subtlest, most sensitive and imaginative means. The opening credit music, perfectly gauged, is an almost expressionistic rendering of the familiar tune "The Animal Fair" ("and what became of the Monk?...."), performed by a unison children's chorus accompanied by 3 muted trumpets. And speaking of trumpets--- watch (and listen) for the brilliant moment when the fire alarm/whistle is first heard in the distance during a slightly surreal, late-night waltz in the local park. Then there's the breathlessly tense but ultimately painful scene when Trescott returns from his daily duties and finds the incapacitated Monk, his face draped in the black veil, standing immobile but ready to perform his former handyman chores... another scene of Garfinkle's invention of which he was justifiably proud (Garfinkle himself even appears in a cameo as a townsman).

Royal Dano, Lois Maxwell, Richard Erdman, Robert F. Simon and Howard Smith...familiar American stalwarts....distinguish themselves in this compelling examination of the human condition (when I visited Royal Dano in September, 1988, he was absolutely certain that his big dramatic scene with Lois Maxwell had been cut from the final film...until I handed him a VHS copy of the movie and assured him that it was indeed still there). The lovely Jill Donohue, then living in Sweden, was cast as Monk's fiancée, while British character actor Harold Kaskett deftly portrays Reifsnyder, the town barber and dispenser of philosophical nuggets. The pivotal role of Jimmy Trescott is played by young Miko Oscard (who had shone the previous year in MGM's "Brothers Karamazov" and was the nephew of the famous N.Y. talent agent Fifi Oscard); his performance is remarkably restrained and honest; the emotional transformation conveyed by his face during the final bell-ringing scene shows an emotional depth rare in young actors.

A uniquely beautiful film, doomed by its own sensitivity and restraint. Allied Artists had NO idea how to promote it, passing it off as another cheap, horror-matinée filler, sometimes on a triple-bill with "Caltiki" and "Tormented". It was panned and quickly disappeared.

Is "Face of Fire" really as good as I think it is? Buy it and decide for yourself. Don't expect to be blown away---- it's not that sort of experience. But it speaks directly to me on a deeply emotional level. You might shrug it off or, depending on your state of mind, be reduced to a sobbing, blubbering mess as I was many years ago after a late-night local TV showing.


PICTURE QUALITY--- very good; clean and detailed. Good contrast. SOUND QUALITY-- OK; clean but pretty low volume level, as is common with many un-restored releases. Just crank the volume control.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
'Face of Fire' on TCM Sunday, June 8, 2014 @ 09:00 AM (ET) jpw43
Signifance of church bells? nanafee
Discuss Face of Fire (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: