The lovely Salome at BNoirDetour has once again pulled a “Mike Douglas” and is generously allowing me to co-host her Sunday-night Live Tweet as a double feature. So we’re showing a couple of films-noir that have to do with the fracturing of famous faces.
First at 9:00 p.m. EST, Salome brings us The Face Behind the Mask (1941), starring Peter Lorre and Evelyn Keyes. Salome will probably write about this movie on her own blog, so I don’t want to give too much away myself. Suffice to say, Peter Lorre really gets burned in this movie, in more ways than one.
Then at 10:20 p.m. EST, I rudely push Salome aside so that I can present The Scar (1948). It stars Paul Henreid as a gangster on the run who hightails it to a small town, where he discovers that he bears a striking resemblance to the town’s psychoanalyst. The only feature he’s lacking to make the resemblance complete is a facial scar borne by the psychoanalyst. Hmm, one scar = new identity…This isn’t going to end well for at least one person.
So put your noir face on this Sunday, and join us at Twitter.com for a great double feature. Be sure to use the hashtag #BNoirDetour to comment on the movies while they’re playing.
This week on The Gangsters All Here, it’s a two-for-one special as Paul Henreid — best known to film buffs as Victor Laszlo, the good guy in Casablanca — does a complete 180 as a villain and his doppelganger in a film-noir entry, The Scar (also previously released as Hollow Triumph).
(WARNING: Spoilers follow!)
Heinreid (who also produced the movie) plays recently paroled criminal John Muller. Muller wastes no time reverting to his old way, rounding up his old gang and planning a heist on a high-looted and well-protected casino. When that project works out less than swimmingly, Muller retreats to another city, where he discovers he has an uncanny resemblance to a local psychologist named Victor Bartok (also played by Henreid). Indeed, the only major physical difference between the two is a prominent scar on Bartok’s face. But heck, if Muller can ditch his own trashy life and take over someone else’s tony existence, he’s not going to let a little thing like a facial scratch stop him, is he?
On a scale of 1 to 5 fannies, this movie gets a 4. I would give it a 5, but frankly, that business about the scar gets a little hazy in the movie’s second half. However, that won’t deter you from enjoying powerhouse performances from Henreid as well as Joan Bennett as Bartok’s seen-it-all secretary. And if you look really closely, your eyes will pop at the sight of Jack Webb in the early role of a hitman who’s nicknamed “Bullseye”! Goodness, what would Joe Friday have to say about that?