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Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage)

Director(s): Georges Franju

Theatrical Release: 1959

Cast: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Edith Scob, Francois Guerin, Juliette Mayniel, Beatrice Altariba

Genre(s): Horror, Criterion Collection

Countries: France, Italy


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Running Time: 90m.

French director Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage) is an unsettling, sometimes poetic horror film. Pierre Brasseur plays a brilliant plastic surgeon, Prof. Genessier, who has vowed to restore the face of his daughter, Christiane (Edith Scob), who was mutilated in an automobile accident. With the help of his assistant (Alida Valli), he kidnaps young women, surgically removes their facial features, and attempts to graft their beauty onto his daughter's hideous countenance. This naturally has an adverse effect on the "donors," some of whom commit suicide rather than go through life faceless. Franju's haunting, muted handling of basic horror material is what lifts Eyes Without a Face out of the ordinary and into the realm of near-classic. When the film failed to draw crowds under its original title, however, the distributors decided to exploit it as a two-bit "scare" flick with the new title The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus. -- Hal Erickson (allmovie.com)

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Criterion Collection DVD #260 Special Features:

+ New, restored high-definition digital transfer

+ Blood of the Beasts (Le Sang des bêtes), Georges Franju’s 1949 short documentary about the slaughterhouses of Paris

+ Archival interviews with Franju on horror, cinema, and the making of Blood of the Beasts

+ Excerpt from Les Grands-pères du crime, a documentary featuring Eyes Without a Face writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (Diabolique, Vertigo)

+ Theatrical trailers

+ Stills gallery of rare production photos and promotional material

+ New and improved English subtitle translation

+ Plus: new essays by novelist Patrick McGrath and writer and film historian David Kalat
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