Stolen Face (1952)

Article 2076 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-20-2006
Posting Date: 4-19-2007
Directed by Terence Fisher
Featuring Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott, Andre Morell

A plastic surgeon, in love with a woman promised to another, undertakes to perform plastic surgery on a deformed female criminal and gives her the face of the woman he loves.

This movie is anchored by a good performance from Lizabeth Scott in a dual role as both the object of the doctor’s affection and as the criminal whose face he reconstructs and whom he marries. Paul Henreid also does fine as the surgeon. Nonetheless, I wasn’t very impressed with the movie. It does surprise me that it didn’t quite go in the direction I expected, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with where it did go. Part of the problem is that the movie never really does anything significant with its central gimmick; even though the fact that the doctor does this act gives us a glimpse inside the doctor’s psyche, he’s not really that interesting enough a character for this to be truly effective. The only other use the movie makes of its concept is that one of the two women gains information through being mistaken for the other one, but with some very minor plot changes, they could have gotten the information in other ways. Take away the central gimmick, and there’s really nothing more here than a rather ordinary romantic melodrama. The ending, though an example of poetic justice, is also a little too pat for my taste.



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