|Walter J. Harvey
Lippert Pictures (USA)
Exclusive Films (UK)
Stolen Face is a 1952 British film noir directed by Terence Fisher and starring Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott and André Morell. It was made at Riverside Studios by Hammer Film Productions. With its theme of a man who, after the sudden end of a powerful romance with a beautiful blonde tries to recreate her by altering the appearance of another woman, it is clearly a forerunner of Vertigo directed by Alfred Hitchcock six years later.
Dr. Philip Ritter, a plastic surgeon (Paul Henreid), falls in love with a gifted and beautiful concert pianist, Alice Brent (Lizabeth Scott). They meet by chance at a country inn, and romance soon develops. However, Alice is already engaged to be married and, afraid to tell Ritter, runs away. Ritter is devastated.
Back at his London surgery, Ritter receives a phone call from Alice, who informs him she is to marry David (André Morell). Meanwhile, Ritter's new patient is Lily Conover (Mary Mackenzie), a female convict whose face is disfigured. The love-struck surgeon believes he can change her criminal ways by constructing her new face to resemble that of Alice. He does so, and they marry. (Now identical to Alice, she is played by Scott.)
However, Lily has not changed her ways. She soon grows bored of Ritter's sedate lifestyle, and returns to a life of crime and partying. She is reckless in her behaviour, and unabashedly flirtatious with other men, and he comes to despise her.
As Alice completes her latest concert tour, David knows there is something wrong with her. He guesses she is in love with someone else, and calls off the engagement. Alice goes to see Ritter, who confesses what he has done.
Later, an upset Ritter leaves London for Plymouth, believing that the situation can never be reversed. Lily follows him, however, and takes the same train, where she becomes drunk and aggressive towards Ritter. Alice believes Ritter is so upset he may harm Lily, or even kill her if provoked, and she too joins the train. She arrives just as the two are arguing, and engaged in a physical struggle as Ritter tries to prevent the intoxicated Lily from falling out of the carriage. As Alice enters, Lily accidentally falls against the loose carriage door, and falls out of the train.
The film ends as Lily is discovered dead at the side of the tracks, and Ritter and Alice are reunited.
- Paul Henreid as Dr. Philip Ritter
- Lizabeth Scott as Alice Brent / Lily Conover, after surgery
- André Morell as David
- Mary Mackenzie as Lily Conover, before surgery
- John Wood as Dr. John 'Jack' Wilson
- Arnold Ridley as Dr. Russell
- Susan Stephen as Betty
- Diana Beaumont as May
- Terence O'Regan as Pete Snipe
- Hal Osmond as Photographer (uncredited)
- Ambrosine Phillpotts as Miss Patten - Fur Department Clerk (uncredited)
- Cyril Smith as Alf Bixby, Innkeeper (uncredited)
- Richard Wattis as Mr. Wentworth, Store Manager (uncredited)
- Bartlett Mullins as Farmer
The film was shot at Hammersmith's Riverside Studios at the end of 1951.