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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting, gruesome and beautiful
With so many unforgettable moments - from the opening scene (accompanied by highly disturbing carnival music) of vampish Louise driving in her 2CV to dump a body at the banks of the Seine; to the unflinching shots of `mad scientist' Dr Genessier's horrific surgical experiments, and the sublime scenes of Christiane gliding ethereally down the steps from the attic in which...
Published on 13 Mar 2008 by G. Fletcher

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13 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "My Face or Yours?"
I was pretty darned intrigued when I heard about this movie. Everything about it seemed to appeal to the darker side of my nature - a French gothic horror movie with an incredibly disturbing, amoral premise. I read a few reviews that were unanimously favourable. Then I saw the haunting imagery on the DVD cover and thought, "I need to see that movie!"

So I've...
Published on 27 Jun 2008 by Mr. B. A. D. Plowman


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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting, gruesome and beautiful, 13 Mar 2008
By 
G. Fletcher - See all my reviews
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With so many unforgettable moments - from the opening scene (accompanied by highly disturbing carnival music) of vampish Louise driving in her 2CV to dump a body at the banks of the Seine; to the unflinching shots of `mad scientist' Dr Genessier's horrific surgical experiments, and the sublime scenes of Christiane gliding ethereally down the steps from the attic in which she is kept - this is a superior horror movie in every way.

Eyes Without a Face (or Les Yeux sans Visage, if you want to be a bit French) combines elements of the Gothic novel with a surrealist sensibility to create an absolutely unforgettable cinematic experience. Long after the cheap-shock tricks of many of today's horror franchises have been forgotten, the hauntingly beautiful scenes of Christiane's eyes gazing through her mask, and the inescapable and bloody surgical scene, will be remembered.

A classic in the genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An haunting horror movie, 31 Dec 2010
By 
Colin Smith (England) - See all my reviews
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Having only recently watched this movie, and considering the fact that it was made half a century ago, its hardly surprising to learn of the revulsion felt by many viewers at the time, even now it remains a disturbing and unsettling film to watch, a brave step to take, a movie ahead of its time.

The story originates with Plastic Surgeon, Dr Gennesier (Pierre Brasseur) who's guilt at recklessly crashing his car which left his daughter, Christiane (played by Edith Scob) severely facially disfigured, turns him into a dangerous obsessive, who's sole aim is to restore her beauty at any cost.
Aided by loyal assistant, Louisa (Alida Valli), young women are lured to his home to become unwitting donors to his evil schemes.

The white mask that the delicate and fragile Christiane wears emphasises the emotions in her eyes, which is rather unsettling, she also moves quitely around her tiny world within the house, the gruesome "face removing" scene is followed by the harrowing scenes of the young victim's fate, which I found to be very moving.
The black and white photography in Georges Franju's movie merely adds to the haunting and disturbing atmosphere of the story, which is in turns obscenely cruel and amoral yet coldly beautiful, a bewitching fairytale of the darkest variety, a horror movie of real quality.

The widescreen picture quality is excellent, the movie is French language with optional English subtitles, and is 86 minutes in length approx.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's the freaking hold up?!!!, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: Eyes Without a Face (3 - Disc Collectors Edition) (DVD + Blu-ray) (DVD)
Pushed back to a November release now? Is this a joke? First the release date was July, then September, now November.:/ If I could get away with it then I'd curse all the expletives under the sun. This is so frustrating. I've been excited about this release since I heard it was coming out back last Christmas & I'm getting really impatient now. This sucks!:( The five stars is because this film is awesome, but not for this infuriating wait for this BFI release.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mesmeric and Disturbing, 13 Aug 2010
By 
Mr. D. Gumble "Dan" (Herts, England) - See all my reviews
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When looking back over the years at the truly defining moments of the horror genre, one will generally encounter the usual titles; `Psycho', `Night of the Living Dead', `The Exorcist', `The Shining', `Halloween', etc. Each of these films has achieved enormous iconic status within popular culture as well as among horror fans, often the subject of parody and pastiche in comedy, TV and commercials. Even today, one is reminded of the terrifying `here's Johnny' moment from `The Shining' by Lenny Henry in the equally disturbing Premier Inn campaign. Yet many will be unaware of George Franju's 1959 cult classic `Eyes Without a Face', a film which has been criminally overlooked and forgotten since its release five decades ago. A film that is both mesmeric and disturbing in its tone and subject matter, it's hard to define why `Eyes Without a Face' has missed out on the notoriety and success of these other classic titles.

The film is centred on Dr Genessier, a crazed surgeon obsessed with trying to find a new face for his disfigured daughter Christiane, following a car crash for which he was responsible. His attempts to do so involve the kidnapping of young women and the subsequent removal of their face. Meanwhile, Christiane is forced to wear a white, featureless mask to cover her horrendous facial injuries, giving her a haunting, ghostly presence. This darkly sinister premise makes for deeply suspenseful viewing, creating enough tension to easily rival many of those famous horror classics. One of the most important factors in producing this atmosphere is Franju's technique of not revealing the face of Christiane straight away, and when the shocking moment comes, it is still partially blurred and distorted, leaving the viewer to imagine what her face looks like only through the terrified shrieks of the girl who sees her for the first time.

Franju's intelligent use of suspense and his skill in allowing the audience's imagination to provide the horror are expertly offset by the moment in which we witness the graphic removal of one of his victims' face; an unflinching scene which still has the power to disturb, despite the progression in visual effects and graphic imagery since its release. The cold, surgical manner by which he goes about this appalling procedure is equally as effective as any of the typically over-the-top, gruesome murder scenes from most slasher films. In fact, the clinical, emotionless way in which the Genessier conducts this act is probably what makes it all the more unsettling. It is possible that this scene was one of the reasons to the film's lack of exposure and success, being simply too explicit in its depiction of facial desecration and therefore turning audiences away rather than drawing them in.

Whatever the reason may be, `Eyes Without a Face' absolutely deserves to be considered alongside the true greats of the genre. It's utilisation of suspense, atmosphere and cold brutality make for a superb example of how horror movies should be made. Although it may be over fifty years old, `Eyes Without a Face' has certainly lost none of its power or ability to shock and terrify.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two -faced, 24 May 2009
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
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Eyes Without a Face is as precise as it's title suggests.We are in a world of masks and false identities.We are in a macabre,but realistic world where horror and the fantasical operate in `homeopathic doses'. Having to get around the censorship of Germany,France,England and Italy, Franju's chilly but lyrical film becomes poetic in his escewal of Grand Guignol gestures and colour, weilding a mean scalpel. The music is both jaunty and by turns melancholic, carnivalesque and internal.Dr.Genessier is no mad scientist,he gives lectures about the future of transplanting to respectable audiences, who acclaim his worth and genius,and he is a plastic surgeon. However he loves his daughter and feels guilty because he has disfigured her face in a road accident,and must make amends by getting his assistant,Louise(Valli)to pick up young student women of similar facial structure.Once back he drugs them and while they are unconscious, he removes the skin off their face to transplant onto Christiane, his daughter.

Meanwhile, she mopes behind a white porcelaine-like mask,shut away from the world. Like a creepy fairy-tale princess awaiting release.She is the dominant centre of the film,seeming to call forth desperate measures from her father,whereas he is the active centre.There is a ghastly cost to all this:the disposing of dead bodies in rivers or underground vaults,by his loyal robotic assistant-lover,Louise.Also,after a few days the transplants are rejected and the graft rots.The same cycle is repeated again.The pivotal centre of the film is when Genessier starts to sketch out on a guinea-pig's face with a pencil, then using his scalpel proceeds to cut along the pencilled line, with blood coming out all the way along.His sweaty face conveys the tension of the scene, and in graphic detail, he lifts off the facial skin.Another major scene is where the drug wears off as Genessier has had to leave to speak to the police and Christiane wanders in without her mask and stands over the waking female.The look of horror on her face recalls when Mia Farrow wakes up in Rosemary's Baby and realizes she has given birth to the devil.

The climactic scene is where Christiane,once mutely compliant, now rebels and liberates a would-be victim. She also releases all the caged dogs who are experimented on, and the doves, with one on her arm walking outside into the woods without a mask, her father having been savaged to death,after having stabbed an uncomprehending Louise in the kneck.What is truly horrible is the way Franju deconstructs the horror, by underplaying it. We never see beneath the mask clearly,only an unfocussed shot, thus intensifying the power.Boileau-Narcejas adapted Redon's thriller.They were famous already for Diabolique and Vertigo.Alida Valli(Louise) is well known from The Third Man.
If you like your horror intelligently done within the realms of plausibility then this is your film.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frankly unforgettable, 4 Feb 2005
By 
Michael Bo (Frederiksberg Denmark) - See all my reviews
The French always liked to camouflage their guilty pleasures as intellectual aspirations, and the genre movie, be it the thriller, the drama or the horror flic made in France have adorned themselves with metaphysical deliberations.
Director Georges Franju, who in the 1930s established the Cinémateque Francais with the likes of Jack Lang, is not a pretentious Frenchman, far from it. He loved the bizarre and the grotesque, and if you share his taste for the poetically unfathomable, the suggestive, you will love this new CD from Criterion. 'Eyes Without a Face' is about a surgeon whose daughter was the victim of a car accident that peeled away the skin from her face. His nurse and mistress now picks up pretty young girls with whose skin the surgeon can experiment. His aim is to perfect a skin transplant to help his daughter. When the police gets a whiff of this they pick a young girl as a decoy and ... Well, you will have to see for yourself.
The movie starts out as a somewhat shabby, but highly effective noir with Alida Valli driving her car nervously along the highway, trying to get rid of yet another corpse of a young woman. Gradually the film evolves into the silent horrors of the middle part (the only other two films I know that are equally silent are Bergman's 'The Silence' and Hitchcock's 'Notorious') and the climax of which I shall reveal absolutely nothing, but it is frankly unforgettable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eyes without a face, 27 Feb 2011
By 
RTFishall "terry5680" (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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I remember seeing this film first time round (1959) as a 14 year old boy. It was rated in those days as an "X" certificate, which meant you had to be aged over 16 years to get in the cinema watch it(I was very tall for my age!!!).
It scared the hell out of me at the time and the memory of it is still deep in a recess of my mind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars .............., 13 Jan 2013
That was some seriously crazy cinema, theatrical but so much more at the same time
as at peri peated vie
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eyes without a face: Ahead of its time!, 8 Jun 2012
This film was clearly ahead of its time and was too much for many critics of the day to stomach. This is up there as one of the greatest, most influential and disturbing films ever made. Every frame just oozes class. Don't let the fact that it's French language with subs put you off. This is a cinematic masterpiece which every horror fan should see. For a film which is over 50 years old even I had to look away at some scenes. Will haunt your dreams long after viewing it. Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A second skin, 20 Nov 2011
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
French black and white, Gothic horror, similar to "Rebecca" in style, atmosphere and artistic direction.

The central themes rely on the battle between wanting to inhabit emotions battling against the impact of an emotional erasure. Transplanted to the characters the theme is played out in the battle between the scientist who wants to "save" his daughter, via his narcissism. To do this he wants to destroy other fathers daughters, an absence of empathy. Instead he views the world as his laboratory. Because within "science" - a discipline that prides itself upon emotional erasure, the ends forever justifies his means. "Father" wants to control nature just as they do in real life, and if they are not fathers they are women immersed within a "masculine protest."

A dominant theme ripples throughout the film. It was the father's will to power which destroyed his daughter as his erratic driving drove her disfigured her beauty. Hints at another dimension to his act as a savior. So he states he wants to rebuild her. Meanwhile he has his loyal servant, a procuress, who entices young women into his dungeon where he incises their faces and transplants them.

A surgical procedure now finally perfected in the 21st, this film explores the ethics, as the scientist is not the hero, but like Frankenstein - the mad man; the serial killer aiming for the greater good based upon himself. Everyone is a pawn in his will to power. As a result the film raises a number of issues around sacrifice for the greater social interest. Realistically, only the dead can offer their skin, and as the film points out, they have to be freshly deceased, otherwise, necrotisis destroys their attributes. In the film the women surrender their faces, whilst still alive, and this elicits the horror.

The camera work is also another star, along with the acting. However the film underplays the horror, and the seeming futility of the venture. Freedom becomes the motto, freedom from control. Meanwhile in the 21st century face transplants are becoming a norm. This film shows where the corpses have been laid.
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