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Eyes Without a Face (1960)
"Les yeux sans visage" (original title)

 -  Drama | Horror  -  24 October 1962 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 13,403 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 120 user | 120 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

A brilliant surgeon, Dr. Génessier, helped by his assistant Louise, kidnaps nice young women. He removes their faces and tries to graft them onto the head on his beloved daughter Christiane... See full summary »

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(novel), (adaptation), 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Juliette Mayniel ...
...
François Guérin ...
Jacques Vernon
Alexandre Rignault ...
Inspector Parot
Béatrice Altariba ...
Paulette
Charles Blavette ...
L'homme de la fourrière (as Blavette)
Claude Brasseur ...
Un inspecteur
Michel Etcheverry ...
Le docteur Lherminier - médecin légiste / Forensic surgeon
Yvette Etiévant ...
La mère (as Yvette Etievent)
René Génin ...
Emile Tessot
Lucien Hubert ...
Un homme au cimetière
Marcel Pérès ...
Un homme au cimetière
Edit

Storyline

A brilliant surgeon, Dr. Génessier, helped by his assistant Louise, kidnaps nice young women. He removes their faces and tries to graft them onto the head on his beloved daughter Christiane, whose face has been entirely spoiled in a car crash. All the experiments fail, and the victims die, but Génessier keeps trying.... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$19,628 (USA) (31 October 2003)

Gross:

$52,709 (USA) (28 November 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film appeared in the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1960 it was reported that seven audience members fainted during the surgery scene. Director Georges Franju responded "Now I know why Scotsmen wear skirts." See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie when the body is being dragged to the water when it is first removed from the car the corpse is wearing stockings. When the corpse is dragged closer to the water you can see bare legs. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Génessier: Smile. Not too much.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mr. Sardonicus (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful Horror
8 January 2006 | by (Berlin, GER) – See all my reviews

At the time 'Les yeux sans visage' was released, the film was not very popular and faced common rejection by the critics. Regardless of those dis-affirmations, it raised to the position of a classic in the horror genre. Franju - one of the founders of the legendary Cinemathèque Française - succeeded in an intriguing way to make film history sensible as a source of inspiration of an entirely peculiar vision.

The clinic of Dr. Génessier (P. Brasseur) is located not very far from Paris. Famous as a specialist in skin grafting, nobody foreshadows that the scientific ambition of the surgeon is incident with a horrifying secret: Since an accident has destroyed the face of Génessier's daughter, Christiane (Scob), the doctor does everything to reconstruct her beauty. With the help of his assistant Louise (Valli) he clucks young women in his remote mansion, benumbs them and makes them a victim of a macabre surgical operation. In a hidden operating room in the basement of his house, Génessier removes the facial skin and transplants it on Christiane's face. Without lasting successes.

That Franjus film has not suffer losses from its immensely disturbing effects is because of, if nothing else, the camera work of Eugen Schüfftans. His brilliant black and white shots resurrects the bright dark of the expressionist German silent film. It imparts Villa Génessier a threatening life of it's own, transmutes it in a mazy horror house which seems like one can not escape. The shadows of the stairway handrails lay on everybody who enters the building like grids and makes him optically a prisoner of Génessier's delusion, mostly his daughter Christiane. Cut from a real life she haunts through the paternal ruins, the garbled face concealed behind a white porcelain mask, whose sad expression seems to nail the doom of the young woman.

Christiane's mask also points out a central principle of formation of the film: It's suspense results substantially from the interaction of visible and invisible things, of showing and dissembling. Franju subtly creates a nightmarish atmosphere that evokes the horror of Génessier's actions, but never makes it explicitly in the first instance - only to show it the viewer more pitilessly: When the surgeon unprovided cuts into the juvenilely beautiful face of one of his victims. This moment of shocking intensity reminds of the razor blade cut through the woman's eye of Bunuel's surrealistic classic 'Un chien andalou' (1929). With the same zest to provoke, Franju also presents the result of an ostensibly succeeded operation: A sober sequence of photographs shows, commented by Génessier off-stage, at first Christiane's angelically delicate face, then how the transplanted skin becomes patchy a few days later, splits open and two weeks later dies off. The cruelty of those two sequences exposes Génessier as a perverted, pestilent doctor and his paternal love as brutal obsession. The attempt to give his daughter a new face means at the same time to erase her identity, to create the ideal woman.

'Les yeux sans visage' remains in the memory of the viewer as one of the rare places on the imaginary continent, phantasmagoric and exigent with ample suspense and shocking details, a perfect alchemy of horror and allegoric poesy whereby one of the most beautiful horror films came into being.


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Great elements seriously hampered by silly ones... johnkstone1234
recommendations for similar films? kimisu
If this was remade... Halloweenluver
Was anybody besides me creeped out... Nick_Jones
am I imagining this bit? mike-2620
a beautiful film ... PoeticConvulsion
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