Haunting, starkly-lit minimalist The Face Behind The Mask follows the suffering of Hungarian refugee Peter Lorre as he struggles through a miserable existence in an alienating, cruel urban America. His face melted in a fire, Szaby wears a frightening expressionistic mask as he makes an attempt to raise the money necessary for plastic surgery.
He gets mixed up with a criminally dangerous crew and when the blind girl he loves, Evelyn Keyes, is blown to bits, Lorre learns it is possible to lose more than your face.
The Face Behind The Mask was shot as a B picture but is among the best in style and theme. Director Robert Florey incorporated the ideas of the German expressionists in his films, utilizing camera angles and lighting to convey emotion.
USA / Columbia / 69 minutes / 1941
Director: Robert Florey
Screenplay: Paul Jarrico
Peter Lorre as Janos ‘Johnny’ Szabo
Evelyn Keyes as Helen Williams
Don Beddoe as Lt. James ‘Jim’ O’Hara
George E. Stone as Dinky
John Tyrrell as Watts
Cy Schindell as Benson
Stanley Brown as Harry
James Seay as Jeff Jeffries
Warren Ashe as Johnson, Reporter
Charles C. Wilson as Chief O’Brien
George McKay as Terry Finnegan
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