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The Face Behind the Mask (1941)

A disfigured watchmaker with a grudge against society embarks on a life of crime.

Director:

Robert Florey

Writers:

Paul Jarrico (screenplay), Arthur Levinson (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Peter Lorre ... Janos 'Johnny' Szabo
Evelyn Keyes ... Helen Williams
Don Beddoe ... Lt. James 'Jim' O'Hara
George E. Stone ... Dinky
John Tyrrell ... Watts
Cy Schindell ... Benson (as Al Seymour)
Stanley Brown ... Harry
James Seay ... Jeff Jeffries
Warren Ashe Warren Ashe ... Johnson, Reporter
Charles C. Wilson ... Chief O'Brien (as Charles Wilson)
George McKay George McKay ... Terry Finnegan
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Storyline

Janos Szaby is a kind, innocent immigrant to America. Just after he arrives though, he is caught in a fire and his face is horribly burned and disfigured. Although a skilled craftsman his hideous features make it impossible for him to get work, and driven by despair he is forced to turn to crime to live. He finds himself very proficient at that, and soon makes enough money to buy a very lifelike mask to hide his scars behind. He hates what he does, but is he in too deep to get out? Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What strange terror does this mask conceal? See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Gesicht hinter der Maske See more »

Filming Locations:

Yuma, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shooting lasted from Nov. 6-26, 1940, released January 16, 1941. See more »

Quotes

Dinky: What do you get out of bein' dead? Layin' in a grave ain't my idea of life.
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User Reviews

 
Seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater in 1966
16 January 2014 | by chongajulySee all my reviews

1941's "The Face Behind the Mask" was among the 12 Columbia titles included in the SON OF SHOCK television package issued in the late 50s, garnering a growing cult that continues to build even today. A solid 'B' offering a rare starring role for the unique talents of Peter Lorre (who cavalierly dismissed it in its day), as Hungarian immigrant Janos Szabo, arriving in New York full of boundless enthusiasm as he seeks to make his home in the New World and bring over his fiancée Maria. Tragedy strikes as his hotel burns down, leaving his face scarred beyond repair, a pariah in society despite his skills at watchmaking and aviation. With no work and no future prospects, Janos finds it easier to turn to a life of crime, his mastery at eluding detection without leaving any clues baffling the police. Only when he meets a sweet blind girl does he find his heart stirring again, except his gang won't allow him to quit without repercussions. For an actor who dismissed his profession as 'making faces,' it's remarkable that Lorre's performance shows none of the disdain he may have felt; surely a part that juggles naïve optimism with despairing pessimism, going from criminal mastermind to humanity restored, just doesn't come along every day, and it's a testament to his overall talent that he never lets the film down. George E. Stone tries out his role as 'The Runt' in the upcoming 'Boston Blackie' series at Columbia, and Evelyn Keyes, as the blind Helen, had just played Boris Karloff's daughter in "Before I Hang." Other memorable turns come from James Seay, Al Hill, Mary Currier, and the ubiquitous Frank Reicher, as a sympathetic plastic surgeon. Like so many other SHOCK! titles, "The Face Behind the Mask" appeared on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater on three occasions- Jan 15 1966 (following 1957's "The 27th Day"), Oct 15 1966 (followed by 1961's "The Brainiac"), and Mar 7 1970 (following 1962's "Station Six Sahara").


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