A Woman's Face Reviews

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January 14, 2015
This film may surpass even Joan Crawford's Oscar-winning performance in `Mildred Pierce' as the best of her career. `A Woman's Face' is part courtroom drama, part mystery, and unfolds in the form of flashbacks through the eyes of no less than half a dozen questionable characters. Crawford plays Anna Holm, a facially scarred woman whose disfigurement has led her to an embittered life of crime... She's a `cold-blooded, ruthless little Galatea' - or is she?--Scarred on the outside, scarred on the inside. That is the central theme of 'A WOMAN'S FACE'... An Impressive Probing of Criminality- A Risky Proposition That Paid Off Marvelously!!
½ September 10, 2014
Joan Crawford stars as a woman whose bitterness over her facial disfigurement leads her to become the leader of a group of blackmailers. When a plastic surgeon corrects this disfigurement, she becomes torn between the hope of starting a new life and a return to her dark past.

From the beginning we know that Crawford is the murderer but we don't know who she murdered, or why. She again manages to make a rather hardened, bitter, and potentially murderous woman quite sympathetic. However, in this film she is the lesser of two evils, with Conrad Veidt being typecast as his usual nefararious character.

There are excellent performances by Melvyn Douglas, as the plastic surgeon; Osa Massen as the scheming maid, and Donald Meek and Reginald Owen as Crawford's shady accomplices. I did not care for Albert Bassermann as the rich aged uncle or Richard Nichols who played his nephew; their demeanor was to silly and goofy. Director George Cukor creates some atmospheric moments, notably the gondola ride over the falls and the sled chase at the end. It's a very solid film, and once again the performances carry the day.
½ July 26, 2014
Crawford delivers an atypically restrained, but typically compelling performance in this court drama, cleverly told mostly in flashback. Things take a turn for the dark in the middle, and you're kept guessing right until the somewhat abrupt but totally 1940s ending. It's entertaining, and Joan's acting is definitely on point as a woman scarred not just physically but mentally by her life's misfortunes. Melvyn Douglas is also good, as are the entertaining members of Crawford's 'gang' of petty criminals. Good old fashioned fun, nothing brilliant but better than average. Good stuff.
February 1, 2014
George Cukor directed this Joan Crawford vehicle where she plays a bitter angry woman with a facial deformity but finds her life changed after surgery. Joan give a more "normal" performance and resists her usual inclination to be over-dramatic. I actually think this one ranks among her better films, though I think "Johnny Guitar" remains her best film. Solid melodrama with some nice crime story elements as well.
½ January 16, 2014
one of crawford's late MGM vehicles i really liked this pic
April 20, 2012
When Frankenstein returns to Hollywood in A Woman's Face, a picture of so much social and artistic power that still manages all of that in old fashion.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2012
Right after directing "The Philadelphia Story," George Cukor made the unfairly forgotten melodrama "A Woman's Face," starring Joan Crawford and a great supporting cast that included Melvyn Douglas and a demonic Conrad Veidt.

It's certainly not a great film. But like the vast majority of 1940s melodramas, it's been weirdly forgotten.

The first thing that hit me when it started was the unbelievably cheap sets. I don't know how Cukor tolerated cardboard sets. But I put that out of my mind and focused on the story, which was actually quite interesting.

A woman (Crawford) has a disfigured face resulting from a house fire that occurred when she was a child. The social and erotic ostracism she experienced because of the disfigurement has turned her soul black. She is just one step away from becoming a serial killer.

She meets her demonic equal (Veidt), and they team up to kill a five-year-old boy who stands in the way of Veidt inheriting a fortune. I kid you not; this story gets quite dark. There are other dimensions to the story that add some nice richness.

If not for the cheap sets and rancid B-movie music, "A Woman's Face" could have been a major film. The sequence where Crawford is on the verge of killing the child is unforgettable. Oh, and did I say the film is set in Sweden? Sweden, of all places. But all the dialogue is in English. Odd little movie.

(Just FYI -- Cukor doesn't have much name recognition these days, but he directed many famous movies, including 'My Fair Lady,' 'Adam's Rib,' 'Born Yesterday,' and the Judy Garland version of 'A Star is Born.')
½ January 5, 2010
One of Joan Crawford's best performances, its a great movie and should be recognized as such. Joan Crawford delivers a striking performance as a Swedish woman whose scarred face has made her bitter. Some of the dialogue drags a bit, but overall its a great pic.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2007
dark material for cukor, better known for his comedies. he manages to draw a nicely restrained performance from joan crawford, as a woman whose fate is twisted by her disfigured face. and no one does evil like conrad veidt. i'd love to see the original swedish film with ingrid bergman but it must be nearly impossible to find. only one flixster rating!
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2007
Sometimes I actually prefer A Woman's Face over Mildred Pierce - Cukor seems to have subdued Crawford a little, making her seem less histrionic - softer and less brittle. But I suppose that's why it's less popular - we want the brittle glamour and we love to see Joanie "suffering in furs". In 'Mildred Pierce' we don't quite believe her as a frumpy house-wife, wearing a pinnie, baking pies so as soon as she dons the shoulder-pads and starts bashing Vida about, we cheer!
But Anna Holm is a great character too and just as exciting to me.
Scarred physically as well as mentally, Anna takes her misfortunes out on the silly 'beautiful' women of the film with blackmail. It's not long before she is falling for the insidious charms of Conrad Veidt and is seduced into the worst of all crimes - the murder of a child. This poses a troubling flaw in her character (probably not intentional). You don't know till the end of the flic whether she carries out her heinous act or not (this being Hollywood you have a fair idea though!) but the fact that she, at least, considers it seriously is infinitely harder to forgive than her blackmail endeavours. It does add to your interest in Anna though - but at the same time you sympathize with her less. It's still a marvelous film and Crawford is great. Veidt, as usual, is wonderfully malevolent as the villain of the piece and their scenes together are eery and spellbinding (despite some dodgy dialogue) .
Many of the minor characters do a fine job too - I particularly liked Albert Bassermann's crusty old Consul and Ossa Massen is a delight as one of Crawford's 'silly' victims (Crawford gets to give her a good slapping). Melvyn Douglas, on the other hand, is only adequate. To me he seems to be in the wrong movie - his screwball and matinée idol pedigree doesn't ring true in such a dark and gothic tale.
It's surprisingly cinematic for a Cukor pic (As great as I think his films are, I do find them a little flat visually) - looking very noirish and gothic - especially the way Crawford is lighted. And it has a very exciting chase in the snow for a finale.
It has it's faults but they are few and minor. I defy you not to enjoy it!
Super Reviewer
½ June 6, 2008
Not as good as the original Swedish film with Ingrid Bergman.
May 29, 2008
One of Joan and Cukor's greatest works ever!!!!
½ March 27, 2006
One of Joan Crawford's best pre-Mildred pierce performances. Interesting story, wonderfully photographed. Great score. The film has a wonderful supporting cast. Great classic melodrama.
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