After causing an accident that left his daughter Christiane severely disfigured, the brilliant surgeon Dr. Génessier works tirelessly to give the girl a new face. He does so however by kidnapping young women and attempting face transplants. He has been woefully unsuccessful to date. The doctor's world begins to collapse around him when his daughter realizes just what he has been doing.Written by
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 »
When she's not wearing it, Christiane's mask is very thick and heavy and would only seem to cover her face. When she puts it on, however, it is very thin, close-fitting, and seamlessly covers her jawline and the underside of her chin, revealing that the mask itself is a prop while the actress probably wears a combination of makeup and prosthetics. See more »
The films initial 1962 release to the US was edited and the film was re-titled. The surgery scene was cut down for content, while scenes that made Dr. Genessier seem sympathetic (particularly the scene where he cares for an ailing boy) were also edited. See more »
This film is dark and somber with a spare, eerie music score that suits perfectly the macabre, surreal story. A brilliant but deranged surgeon, having caused his daughter's disfigurement in a car accident, loses touch with reality and tries to restore her beauty in a most repulsive manner. Undeterred by failure, the mad doctor continues his gruesome work, hoping to find a miracle cure that will reconstruct the girl's facial features and also relieve him of his tremendous burden of guilt. The once-lovely girl realizes that she will never enjoy a normal life or see her beloved fiancé again, and her mute telephone calls to him just to hear his voice show how empty and lonely her life has become. There are some scenes that are horribly graphic but quite well done and a few moments that are poignant and touching amid the cruelty and butchery of the movie's central theme. Each character in this grim, unhappy feature is victimized in some fashion, but in spite of its subject matter, this cult classic is lean, first-rate storytelling.
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