Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face, 1959-1960)

UK BFI (The British Film Institute) Blu-ray and DVD 2 disc combo edition

Edith Scob as Christiane

Text below written 2018-12-10



As usual with well acknowledged film masterpieces, as this French art-horror, countless of cinéastes and cinephiles has written academic texts
and reviews about it. In the enclosed Booklet there are a couple of these texts/essays and i couldn't add anything to these learned writings, so
i will keep it short. The Film is a horror masterpiece, atmospheric and well acted from Alida Valli and Pierre Brasseur but .... it's the scenes with
young unexperienced actress Edith Scob that gives the film it's poetic qualities, her wanderings through the big house, like an elf, observing
things and wearing her white facial mask as protection from seing her damaged face in a reflection. Edith Scob is ethereal to behold.

The film starts with Alida Valli riding in her car during a dark and rainy night, and she has got a dead body in her back-seat which she dumps in
the river. Alida Valli is always slightly unpleasant to me (i'm sorry Alida, if your spirit reads this) because some 17-18 years later she scared me
stiff as Ms. Tanner in Dario Argento's Suspiria (another horror masterpiece) and her smile starts to get disturbing here, to be right-out hideous
in Suspiria. But she's a great actress and she's very fine here as Louisa, the assistant to the Professor and surgeon Genessier (Brasseur) and it's
her job to find and to abduct suitable women to steal from. For the professor to make Face-Off's from, stealing their faces and grafting it on his
daughter's destroyed face. He fails again and again but he's sure he will succeed finally, but he's a murderer though and very, very unlikeable.

The Booklet included with this BFI edition

Yes, Les Yeux sans Visage is an icon of a horror movie and the undisputed Mother of all Crazed Facial Surgery Doctor movies,
even though there may be some earlier horror on this subject (crazed doctors and surgeons has always been popular in the genre).
Jesús Franco made his version Gritos en la Noche (The Awful Dr. Orlof /L 'Horrible Docteur Orlof) in 1962, which was pretty good
to be a Jess movie, and a sleazier re-make of this in 1988 with Faceless (Les Predateurs de la Nuit) and with ex-pornstar Brigitte
Lahaie in Alida Valli's role as faithful assistant and Helmut Berger as the surgeon.

This film has a great haunting ending i will never forget. Claude Sautet, another great french director and one of my favourite directors
with films as Les choses de la Vie and Un Mauvais fils (Rötägget den svenska titlen), co-scripted the film and was assistant director
and he would very soon make an impression with his second feature film, the 1960 hard-boiled gangster classic Classe tous risques

The BFI blu-ray of Les Yeux sans Visage is presented in High Definition 1.66:1 original ratio with a french audio PCM mono 2.0 with
english subtitles, black & white (i haven't seen the BFI edition DVD version of the film but the sames specs with no HD i guess)

Extras: 2 short films - 1. Monsieur and Madame Curie (1953, 14 minutes) and 2. La Premiere nuit (1958, 20 minutes),
Les Fleurs maladives de Georges Franju (a 50 min overview of Georges Franju's career made in 2009 by Pierre-Henri Gibert),
an Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas, For Her Eyes Only - an interview with Edith Scob french with english subs, 17 minutes, 2014)

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The Old US Criterion DVD edition

Had a restored transfer, in widescreen 1.66:1, mono french audio with english subtitles, black & white and extras a booklet with text,
Franju's famous short Le Sang des bétes (Blood of the Beasts, 1949, 22 min, black & white, french audio with english subtitles,
a short archive interview with Franju about Le Sang des bétes (from the TV series Cinéma des notre temps, 1977, 2 mins 50 secs),
an excerpt from an 1982 interview with Franju (5 minutes), interview with script writer, trailers and a stills gallery