El hombre sin rostro (1950)

aka Man Without a Face
Article 2648 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-6-2008
Posting Date: 11-12-2008
Directed by Juan Bustillo Oro
Featuring Arturo de Cordova, Carmen Molina, Miguel Angel Ferriz
Country: Mexico

A detective is obsessed with catching a serial killer who goes after women. He has nightmarish dreams about the killer.

This movie opens in a strange dream-like world. The detective sits on a bench and watches a funeral procession going by with several coffins. His mother appears to him and begins talking. His attention is directed to a shadowy figure walking under some lampposts. The detective empties his gun into the figure, who, rather than falling, merely stops in his tracks. The detective attempts to look at the figure’s face, and finds that his face is blank…

This is the incredibly striking beginning of this movie, and it made me wish intensely that I was watching a version of it that had subtitles; my copy is in Spanish, and much of the detail of the movie is buried in the dialogue. I was only able to figure out that the main character was a detective by reading another plot description; I wish I’d known it at the outset, because it would have helped quite a bit in understanding what was going on; as it was, I made an assumption I don’t think I would have made had I known this fact. That’s one of the perils in watching movies in languages that you don’t understand. Nevertheless, I suspect that this is a great film; certainly, the eerie dream sequences are wonderful. The box in which I received the movie said it showed a certain resemblance to PSYCHO, though I also found it reminding me of the Canadian thriller THE MASK. At any rate, this is another one of those Mexican horror movies that convinced me that they made some truly excellent ones over the years, and I only hope a subtitled edition of this one shows up in the near future.



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