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Eyes Without A Face (aka Les Yeux Sans Visage)

Released on 12 May 2008

Featuring: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli & Juliette Mayniel

Format: DVD | Rating: 15 years & over

4.0 out of 5 (2 customer reviews) | Write a review

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Guilt-ridden after recklessly crashing his car and leaving his daughter severely disfigured, celebrated plastic surgeon Dr Gennesier becomes obsessed with restoring her beauty by transplanting a new face onto her mutilated features. Aided by his devoted assistant Louisa, young woman are lured back to his home to become unwitting 'donors' in his horrific procedures.

Although too much for many critics of the day to stomach, Franju's masterpiece is now considered to be one of the greatest, most influential and disturbing horror films ever made.
  • 'Georges Franju: Visionary' - a 50 minute feature on the director

customer Reviews

 Average rating (2 reviews)

 Eyes Without a Face (GB edition) nice of-its-time thriller

| | See all OldEnglandsEyes69's reviews (401)

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I've seen this black & white film, directed by Georges Franju, described as "the best horror film ever". Whilst I wouldn't go anywhere near that far, it's a pretty good film for it's time (1959 - 1962 was the US/GB release). It's not a horror though; more a thriller. What people regard as the horror aspect is the good Doctor trying to transplant a facial skin from a murdered girl to replace his daughter's which he's destroyed in a car crash by maniac driving.

Apparently the scriptwriters for this film wrote the novel on which Hitchcock's "Vertigo" film was based. We have actors and actresses that us English have never heard of. Edith Scob (Doctor's daughter), Alida Valli (Doctor's assistant), Juliette Meyniel (an innocent victim) and Paulette Meredon (a shoplifter roped into helping the bumbling French police).

There are a few continuity problems in the film. You'll find some details on the IMDb web-site, to which I've recently added a major blunder. The Doctor's car is a beautiful Citroen DS but two are used, presumably for shooting in different locations. Though they both have the same registration number, one car has fog-lights on the bonnet whilst the other doesn't. Perhaps the former is the "deluxe" DS21 whereas the latter is the "basic" DS19. I don't really know as I'm not that well-up on French cars, apart from the Talbot Tagora SX (an updated Peugeot 604) laid up in my garage, the Peugeot 605 I used to have and the Peugeot 607 which is my current car. Anyway I digress.

There were also picture quality problems in my Criterion edition (which I'm sure won't be corrected here) obviously relating to its original shooting. I've never seen a b&w film from this era with such poorly judged outdoor exposures. Virtually every outdoor sequence is totally over-exposed, bar the close-up object being filmed e.g. a person or a car. Everything in the background e.g. buildings, sky etc is totally washed-out, spoiling the film's appearance. This amateurish cinematography could of course be easily corrected (or the effect greatly reduced) in this age of digital technology during transfer to the digital medium. Unfortunately this has not been done.

Furthermore, though I usually prefer to watch films in their native tongue, subtitled rather than dubbed, I would question the ommission of the English dubbing apparently used for the 1962 GB/US release. Even though this was an edited version, it surely would have been of little bother these days to insert a few minutes of extra dubbing. If that were impossible it would be preferable to retain the original with apologies for the gaps. Similar work has been done with stills inserted where restored bits of films now only exist as audio, the video cuts having been long lost.

Finally, this edition omits the extra "Blood of the Beasts" from the Criterion one, a distressing Franju documentary pre-dating the film by several years (1949) in which he filmed (edited down to 20 minutes) exactly what happened in a Paris slaughterhouse. It's replaced by a documentary about Franju. Unless the over-exposure of the outdoor shots are corrected in this GB issue (which I doubt), then personally I would choose the Criterion edition for that Franju documentary.


| | See all Tsign02's reviews (1)

This movie is excellent to say the least, you can definetly see that Tim Burton was influenced by this movie, there is not one single moment that I was not kept staring at the screen.
Although I would not buy this one, get the region 1 Criterion edition as it has many pretty good extras such as Blood Of The Beasts Georges Franju's first attempt at directing, it's a short documentary (it clocks in at just over 21 minutes) from 1949 about French slaughter houses.

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ActorsPierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel, Edith Scob, François Guérin, Alexandre Rignault, Béatrice Altariba, Charles Blavette, Claude Brasseur, Michel Etcheverry, Yvette Etiévant, René Génin, Lucien Hubert & Marcel Pérès
DirectorGeorges Franju
Certificate15 years and over
ScreenWidescreen 16:9 Anamorphic
Duration1 hour 26 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.