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The Face Behind the Mask (1941)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 16 January 1941 (USA)
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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Airs Fri. Aug. 24, 6:00 AM on TCM

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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.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Mr. Policeman, I'm gangstered!"
7 August 2015 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Exceptional B movie from Columbia, directed by Robert Florey and starring Peter Lorre as a hopeful, innocent Hungarian immigrant whose face is burned in a fire on his first day in New York. His horrible disfigurement makes it hard for him to get work so he turns to a life of crime. Eventually he's leading his own gang and makes enough money to pay for a realistic mask to hide his burns. When he falls in love with a blind woman (Evelyn Keyes) and wants to go straight, his gang turns on him.

There are no bells and whistles here, just fine acting, a decent script, and nice direction. Sensitive, brilliant performance from Peter Lorre that is far better than you would expect to find in a quickie that was filmed in less than a month. The often underrated Evelyn Keyes is terrific in this. Solid support from Don Beddoe and George E. Stone. Robert Florey's noirish direction is a major plus. He would re-team with Lorre later for the classic The Beast with Five Fingers. It's a very good film that's a sort of blend of gangster and horror pictures. If nothing else, see it for one of Peter Lorre's best starring roles.


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