Eyes Without A Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) (1959)

eyes without a face 1959

Good French horror movie about a surgeon obsessed with restoring his daughter’s face. There are a couple quick scenes that may scare a few people but this is not a gore fest. Not a drop of blood to be seen. This is well worth looking up. At the end of the synopsis I have to mention something really freaky about this.

The movie starts with a woman dumping a body into the river. It’s wearing nothing but an overcoat and hat.

Dr.Genessier was driving too fast. His wife was killed and his daughter Christiane was seriously disfigured. After delivering a lecture he gets a summons from the police to come to the morgue. It looks like the body of his daughter was found in the Seine. He says it’s her. The last ones at the funeral are Christiane’s fiance Jacques and Genessier’s secretary Louise (Alida Valli). Jacques leaves and the two drive back to the doctor’s huge villa outside of Paris.

Turns out Chrisitane isn’t dead. She’s in a room upstairs wearing a mask. The doctor is trying to restore her face. Louise goes into Paris and picks a girl out of a line waiting at at theatre. She says since she’s looking for a room she has one for her. Her name is Edna Gruber.

She drives her to the villa. Edna is intimidated by its size. The barking of unseen dogs doesn’t help. Edna says she’ll let them know the next day. For now she has to meet a friend in Paris. A cloth soaked in chloroform settles that. It’s the operating table for her.

Christiane is told not to wander around but of course she can’t help herself. She goes down to the basement operating room. She goes into another room where there are a lot of dogs in cages. They’re her friends.

Genessier tells Louise he wants to try and remove the whole face this time instead of doing it by sections. He along with Louise standing by operate on Edna. It’s a success.  Edna is locked up in a cell. When Louise brings her a tray she knocks her out and escapes into the house. She runs to the top floor and jumps out the window. Another body to dispose of.

All is not lost as it looks like the transplant was a success. Meanwhile in Paris the police get a picture of the missing Edna. She’s just another girl in a string of blue eyed girls that have gone missing.

Don’t want to spoil anything from here. The suspense is done really well and this is definitely one to put on your list.

Billy Idol used the English and French title for his 1984 hit.

A Maurice Jarre musical refrain that pops up throughout the movie sounds just about exactly like one that was used in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (1999-2011).

No way the film makers could have known but the world’s first successful face transplant was performed in France in 2005. The movie’s ending is really freaky when you consider…well…..that would be another spoiler.

Dr.Genessier gets ready to operate

Dr.Genessier gets ready to operate



About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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2 Responses to Eyes Without A Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) (1959)

  1. dfordoom says:

    A great movie. The basic idea has been used in several subsequent movies but they don’t come up to the standard of the original.

  2. vintage45 says:

    Even though it has subtitles, that shouldn’t stop some TV channel from showing it. It’s too good to stay hidden.

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