Stolen Face

Annoyed at the opera: Paul Henreid and Lizabeth Scott in Stolen Face (dir. Terence Fisher, 1952).

More Hammer noir: a plastic surgeon in love with a woman he can't have tries to surrogatize her by reshaping a disfigured criminal's face in the original woman's image and then marrying her. Oh wait, it turns out he can have his real love, and the ex-con isn't so ex- after all. Oops! The Pygmalion element anticipates Vertigo, though Paul Henreid is no Jimmy Stewart: he can't convincingly reconcile the discrepancy between his romantic leading-man self and his obsessed mad-doctor self for the audience. It's like he just has a momentary lapse of professional judgment, rather than that he goes completely insane and tries to turn another human being into his domestic love puppet. The whole thing's pretty laughable, but Fisher shows a hint of the bent neo-Gothic flair that he'll bring to the Frankenstein films.

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