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Woman’s Face, A (MGM 1941, Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas)



George Cukor strays near film noir territory with this intriguing melodrama of a woman disfigured from childhood who carries her scars inside as well. Bitter, lonely Crawford runs a blackmailing operation, and gets mixed up in a more serious crime, a murder plot, in order to win the heart of callous heir Veidt. When she tries to blackmail the wife of a surgeon, the unwitting doctor takes an interest in her case and repairs her face. Now that she can turn a new face to the world, she begins to see the evil of the murder plot. A remake of a Swedish film starring a young Ingrid Bergman.

Studio chief Louis B. Mayer heard that Joan Crawford wanted to play a scarred, bitter woman and exclaimed ‘Do you want the public to see you ugly?’ When she persisted, he said, ‘Go ahead, if you want to destroy your career.’

production details
USA | MGM | 106 minutes | 1941

Director: George Cukor
Producer: Victor Saville
Cinematography: Robert H. Planck
Editor: Frank Sullivan
Music: Bronislau Kaper
Script: Elliot Paul, Donald Ogden Stewart
Production Design: Wade B. Rubottom

Sarah Padden as Police Matron
Conrad Veidt as Torsten Barring
Henry Daniell as Public Prosecutor
Gilbert Emery as Associate Judge
Marjorie Main as Emma Kristiansdotter
Joan Crawford as Anna Holm
Melvyn Douglas as Dr. Gustaf Segert
William Farnum as Court Attendant
Robert Warwick as Associate Judge
Osa Massen as Vera Segert
Reginald Owen as Bernard Dalvik
Albert Bassermann as Consul Magnus Barring
Donald Meek as Herman Rundvik
Connie Gilchrist as Christina Dalvik
Richard Nichols as Lars-Erik Barring
Charles Quigley as Eric
Gwili Andre as Gusta
Clifford Brooke as Wickman
George Zucco as Defense Attorney
Henry Kolker as Judge