"Funny, but I think "A Woman's Face" was the reason I won an Oscar for "Mildred Pierce." ~ Joan
"A Woman's Face" 1941
Cast: Joan Crawford~Melvyn Douglas~Conrad Veidt~Osa Massen~Reginald Owen~Albert Bassermann~Marjorie Main~Donald Meek~Connie
Gilchrist~Richord Nichols~Charles Quigley~Gwili Andre~Clifford Brooke~George Zucco~Henry Kolker~Robert Warwick~Gilbert Emery~Henry
Daniell~Sarah Padden~William Farnum.
Director: George Cukor
Costumes by Adrian
Box Office Figures for "A Woman's Face":
Cost: $N/A ~ Domestic Studio Gross: $ N/A. ~ Foreign Studio Gross: $ N/A
Total: $ N/A / Profit: $ N/A
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Thank you for your review on this film.
Stars: Four stars out of four
Review: Out of Joan Crawford's multi-faceted, 50-year career in films, I'd rank "A Woman's Face" as containing
one of her most fascinating and memorable performances. As Anna Holm, she is an embittered woman whose face had been horribly
disfigured in a childhood accident, leaving her isolated and loveless, her anger channeled into a life of crime as a ruthless
blackmailer. In the opening courtroom scene, with her face veiled, she is on trial for the murder of her lover Torsten Barring
(Conrad Veidt), as a parade of witnesses tell their stories. Through flashback, we learn that Holm was humiliated by the blackmailers
she employed. Ultimately she falls into the clutches of Torsten Barring, whose obstacle to inheriting his family fortune is
his 4-year-old nephew Lars Erik (Richard Nichols), the heir-in-line. Barring manipulates Holm by pretending to desire her
with a nefarious ulterior motive in mind. When plastic surgeon (Melvyn Douglas) corrects Holm's scar and gives her the opportunity
to resume a normal life, Barring has Holm installed as nursemaid in his family home where she is to murder the child.
This exciting and immensely absorbing drama is full of duplicity, malevolent double dealings and delicious tension. Director
George Cukor forced Crawford to abandon all affectations and succeeded in drawing a performance out of her that is multi-dimensional,
touching and powerful. Half covered in the "scar" makeup throughout part of this film, Crawford's face still magnificently
catches the light and remains an enigmatic study. It immensely increased my appreciation of her as an actress and as a pure
There is also some wonderful dialogue, such as when Holm tells Barring, "I've read every love letter ever published"
and when he says to her as she sits in his living room, playing the piano, not realizing that she has had her scars corrected
(a coupe she is waiting to spring on him), "Wonder girl -- you play the piano, too" and Holm replies, "I play
the piano and the violin. The wonder girl has also tried painting, poetry and alcohol." While there are some flaws
such as the improbable (but touching) romance between Holm and Douglas (necessary for a satisfying ending), the film remains
intensely absorbing. Veidt is superbly sinister. In one scene, his diabolical fanaticism seems symbolic of the rising tide
of fascism in Europe. A pet moment: Crawford viciously slapping the stuffing out of a cowering Osa Massen, a charged, almost
S&M moment, a great counterpoint to Veidt's S&M-like control over Crawford. Highly recommended.
Review: I think I fell in love with Joan in this movie. I've been mesmerized ever since.
Review: One of Joan Crawford's best performances, due to the fact she shows a diverse series of emotions throughout the
entire film. It was easy to see the uncanny vulnerability and yet sharp survival instincts of the character Anna Holm and
the real Joan Crawford. I think that was her greatest acting skill throughout her career.