Day trois of Queue De Grâce is here at Spectacular Optical and Cole of vitagraph, american has hit me with a doozy: Georges Franju‘s 1960 French horror film, LES YEUX SANS VISAGE (or as we silly Americans like to call it, EYES WITHOUT A FACE)!
After a lackluster Day 2, Cole knew just what what film would suck me back in…hopefully he also realized that EYES raised the bar so high for the rest of the week that the remaining films he picked will all be as mind blowingly awesome. I have my fingers crossed…
I’ve seen quite a few movies in my time, but I’m a bit lacking in the foreign film department (other than a handful of classics and a healthy dose of Giallo, Kaiju, and exploitation)…so, I went into EYES knowing nothing about the director, the plot, or its impact on some genre directors that I am more than familiar with – John Carpenter, Jess Franco, and the oh-so-subtle, John Woo to name a few.
EYES is probably head and shoulders above anything directed by those guys, but it’s really, oh-how-you-say, comparer des pommes et des poires? So I’ll just move on.
The story involves a grief stricken/obsessed plastic surgeon, Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur), his disfigured daughter, Christiane (Edith Scob), and the poor souls that get sucked into the poetic horror-show done only as the French could do it in the late 1950s/early 60s.
I don’t want to get into the plot since some of y’all are already familiar with this classic and I’d hate to spoil anything for the uninitiated. I will say that EYES is worth seeking out if you’re a fan of horror, noir, French cinema, or just movies in general.
Everything about this film was fantastic…from the Maurice Jarre score to the beautifully tragic performance of Scob…seriously, I can’t heap enough praise on this one. It clocks in at a digestible hour and 30 (which is the perfect length for a horror picture) and doesn’t waste a single minute.
I know I’ve had a couple of complaints with some of the female performances in the earlier Queue selections but that’s not a problem here. It’s certainly Scob’s show, but Alida Valli as the Dr.’s assistant and surrogate mother, Louise, does a great job conveying her struggle between blind devotion and soul crushing guilt…and I can’t forget to mention the solid work done by Juliette Mayniel and Beatrice Altariba in small but important roles.
If I had one complaint it would be the questionable police work by Inspector Parot in regards to his unorthodox methods of entrapment…never mind the dangerous position he put his unsuspecting accomplice into. I haven’t seen this kind of reckless investigative techniques since some early 80s De Palma films. While this certainly involves a suspension of disbelief, it’s not really a concern in the world that EYES occupies…in fact, it all makes perfect sense.
So, with all that being said here’s the shortest breakdown yet…
Things I liked:
Things I disliked:
Come back tomorrow where we leave France and head…..