Crazy Knitter Reviews

The place where this crazy knitter reviews books, TV, movies and recipes

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Face Behind the Mask (1941)

An interesting twist on an old story. Peter Lorre stars as Janos, a recent immigrant to New York. He is living in a local hotel when there is an awful fire. His face is badly burned and he is permanently disfigured. He tries to find work but no one will hire him because he looks like a monster. One night he is on a pier and a man runs away from him when he sees his face and drops his wallet. That is when he is approached by Dinky, a petty criminal. He is the only person who does not run away from Janos. The two quickly become friends and Dinky leads Janos into the world of crime. The reason Janos commits crime is to be able to afford a surgical procedure to rebuild his face. In the meantime he has a mask made of his face to be able to move around society. Janos quickly rises to the top of the gang but when Jeff, the leader, returns from jail a power struggle ensues. In the meantime Janos meets Helen (Evelyn Keyes), a young blind woman. They fall in love and Janos decides that he wants out of the group. The only problem is that Jeff thinks Janos is working with the police and will not allow him to go so easily.

All in all this is not a bad movie. Peter Lorre and Evelyn Keyes are wonderful as the star crossed lovers. The ending is a bit hokey but that is not unheard of in movies from this time period. It is not out on video but it is worth catching the next time it comes on TCM.



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