A woman’s face (Volto di donna) – USA 1941

Directed by: George Cukor.

Starring: Joan Crawford; Melvin Douglas; Conrad Veidt; Osa Massen; Albert Bassermann; Merjorie Main.

Sometimes a woman’s face is a fake mirror of her soul.

A mix of drama and noir, this film, based on the play “Il était une fois” by the French playwright and opera librettist Francis de Croisset, had a earlier version in 1938: a Swedish production called “En Kvinnas Ansikte” directed by Gustav Molander and starring Ingrid Bergman in the same role played by Joan Crawford. The story in fact is set in Sweden.

To play the role of Anna Holm (a “bad girl” hating the whole word, made bad from a horrible scar on her face that turn “good” thanks to plastic surgery and the love of the surgeon) Joan Crawford in the first half of the movie wore a heavy make-up to disfigure her famous beauty, a radical step (as Variety said) for an actress in 1940’s Hollywood.

The “bad” Tortsten Barring, the man cheating Anna using her deep insecurity to make her falling in love and then use her to achieve his criminal plots, is played by Conrad Viedt, the German born actor become British after the Hitler’s rising that is better known for playing a year later the role of one of the most famous villains in the cinema history: the Nazi Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca.

If you’re interested in this movie and want to learn more you can visit this page: http://www.legendaryjoancrawford.com/awomansface.html

Two related movie I like: Witness for the Prosecution – USA 1957. Directed by : Billy Wilder. Starring: Marlene Dietrich; Tyrone Power; Charles Laughton.

This gun for hire – USA 1942. Directed by: Frank Tuttle. Starring: Alan Ladd; Veronica Lake; Robert Preston.

…and a related novel I like: A gun for sale – Graham Greene (1936). “This gun for hire” is based on this book.

A volte il volto di una donna non è lo specchio della sua anima.

Questo film, che unisce dramma e noir, tratto dalla pièce “Il était une fois” del drammaturgo e librettista francese Francis de Croisset, era già stato adattato per il cinema nel 1938: la produzione Svedese intitolata “En Kvinnas Ansikte diretta da Gustav Molander in cui Ingrid Bergman interpretava lo stesso ruolo poi sostenuto da Joan Crawford. La storia è ambientata in Svezia.

Per interpretare il ruolo di Anna Holm (la “cattiva ragazza” che odia il mondo intero, resa cattiva da una cicatrice che le sfigura il volto e redenta dalla chirurgia plastica e dall’amore del chirurgo) Joan Crawford ricorse ad un pesante trucco per sfigurare la sua famosa bellezza, un passo radicale (come lo considerò anche la rivista Variety) per un’attrice Hollywoodiana degli anni ’40.

Il “cattivo” Torsten Barring, l’uomo che approfitta delle insicurezze di Anna per farla innamorare e quindi usarla per realizzare i suoi piani criminosi, è interpretato da Conrad Veidt, l’attore Tedesco di nascita che divenne cittadino Britannico dopo la salita al potere di Hitler più noto per aver interpretato un anno dopo uno dei cattivi per antonomasia del cinema di quegli anni: il Maggiore nazista Heinrich Strasser in “Casablanca”.

Se siete interessati a questo film, potete visitare questa pagina: http://www.legendaryjoancrawford.com/awomansface.html

Due film correlati che mi piacciono: Testimone d’accusa – USA 1957. Diretto da Billy Wilder. Con: Marlene Dietrich; Tyrone Power; Charles Laughton.

Il fuorilegge – USA 1942. Diretto da Frank Tuttle. Con: Alan Ladd; Veronica Lake; Robert Preston

…e un romanzo che mi piace: Una pistola in vendita – Graham Greene (1936). Il film “Il fuorilegge” è tratto da questo libro.

About Ella V

I love old movies, rock music, books, art... I'm intrested in politics. I adore cats. I knit...

3 responses »

  1. I’d forgotten about this one, excellent choice.

  2. I have never been too much of a Joan Crawford fan but I will see this movie. My favorite “old” actress has long Barbara Stanwyck. I recently re-watched “Double Indemnity” (oh she was evil) and “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.”

    • Ella V says:

      Double Indemnity is one of my favourite movies too (and probably will be one of my weekend movies in future).

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