Eyes Without a Face (1960) - full transcript

After causing an accident that left his daughter Christiane severely disfigured, the brilliant surgeon Dr. Génessier works tirelessly to give the girl a new face. He does so however by kidnapping young women and attempting face transplants. He has been woefully unsuccessful to date. The doctor's world begins to collapse around him when his daughter realizes just what he has been doing.


The professor?

No, not yet.

I'll tell him, once he's finished.

Is not the greatest of man's new hopes

that of physical rejuvenation?

This hope comes with the heterograft.

But the heterograft –
in other words, the transplanting

of living tissue or organs
from one human being to another –

has only been possible until now

when both subjects in question

were perfectly identical
from a biological standpoint.

This means biologically modifying

the nature of the host organism.

One method involves using
heavy X-ray irradiation

to destroy the antibodies that create
resistance to the heterograft.

Unfortunately, this irradiation
requires such a high level of intensity

that no human being can survive it.

So we resort to exsanguination.

We drain every last drop of blood

from the subject
exposed to radiation.

- You just had a call, Professor.
- From whom?

The medico-legal –
You know, the morgue.

They want to see you right away.

Oh, Professor,
your lecture was so invigorating.

Thrilling, wasn't it, Carlo?

What a wonderful future
you've shown us.

The future, madame, is something
we should have started on long ago.

He's changed so much
since his daughter vanished.

He says such strange things.

It's a strange business,
but that's how it looks to me.

When Génessier's daughter
vanished from the clinic,

her face was an open wound.

True, the missing facial tissue
confirms your theory.

The car accident,

the facial burns,
the long immersion in the river.

And the rats, Doctor.
Don't forget the rats.


Still, the drowning victim's description
also fits that of Simone Tessot.

I called the Tessot girl's father down.

Something doesn't quite make sense.

What's odd is the body was fished out
naked... in a man's coat.

Why should Génessier's daughter,

distraught at her disfigurement,

feel the need to strip naked
in mid-winter before drowning herself?

And that large open wound
where the face should be –

it's strange.

The edges are as smooth as if
someone had taken a scalpel to them.

Here he is.

Dr. Lherminier.

Detective Parot,
of the Missing Persons Bureau.

I'm so sorry we had to meet
under such unfortunate circumstances.

Let's hear it.

This morning, bargemen fished
a girl's body out of the Seine.

The time of drowning coincides

with that of your daughter's

The description also fits.

The damaged face...
Only the eyes are intact.


It's her.


Mr. Tessot is here, Doctor.

Tell him she's been identified
beyond a doubt. It's not his daughter.

I called him in, in case...

Of course.

Excuse me, Professor.
I'm Henri Tessot.

I'm also here about my daughter.

The custodian said she was yours.

Are you really sure, sir?
Are you very sure?

Sadly, sir, only too sure.

It was such a shock when they phoned.

I thought I'd go mad.

It's been 10 days
since we last saw Simone.

Something must have happened to her.

How odd I should have to comfort you.

You still have some hope, at least.

She's looking for a room.

With age, he looks
more and more like his father.

Remember Génessier, the attorney?
No beanpole, either.

He sure has had a string of bad luck.

Losing his wife four years ago...
now his daughter.

Paris, fame, fortune –
what's it all add up to?

Who's the young man?

The girl's fiancé.

A doctor.
He works with the professor.

And the woman?

His secretary, it seems.

A foreigner.

She looks deeply affected.

Go home, son.

No, let's go.

I like order.

Let's go!
I can't take any more of this.

Shut up!




Where did you find this?

I don't like your snooping around.

I have no time to explain it
to you just now.

Sure, you see your name
with a black border around it.

What can you possibly be imagining?

I don't have to imagine a thing.

I see horrible things.
I'm living them!

What have you done now?

What had to be done.

For your own good.

Always for your good, Christiane.

An obituary notice.

Names were simply substituted.

Since that girl died
after the operation,

I took an additional risk.

I made everyone believe it was you.

Everyone thinks you're dead.
They won't look any further.

They won't come around
asking what happened.

Christiane, your mask!

Get into the habit of wearing it.

Where did you hide it?

The habit...

I only meant
the habit of wearing it

until we succeed.

Please don't cry, darling.

I'll succeed, I promise you.

I don't believe it anymore.

There's no reason for you
to doubt me.

I know my abilities, don't I?

You'll have a real face.

I promise you.

They've removed all the mirrors,

but I can see
my reflection in the glass

when the windows are open.

There are lots of shiny surfaces...

a knife blade,

varnished wood...

My face frightens me.

My mask frightens me even more.

Have faith, Christiane.

Look at me.

Didn't he succeed with me?

But you had a face.

Damaged, maybe,
but not destroyed like mine.

He's lying to me,
because he knows it was his fault.

His fault?

It was a car wreck.
It was an accident.

Accident? He has to control everyone,
even on the road!

He drove like a lunatic.

The crash nearly killed me.
Why did he try so hard to save me?

I wish I were blind.

Or dead.

Who is this?

Say something!

I see you're alone, miss.

I have an extra ticket.

My friend didn't show up.

I'd be delighted, madame,

but I planned to buy
an inexpensive seat.

Don't worry.
I'm not asking you to pay.

Sorry I'm late.
My class ran overtime.

It's all right.

I was so anxious
to give you the good news.

I found you a room.

I can't believe it! I'm so glad.

How can I ever thank you?

First take a look at the room.
I think you'll like it.

What neighborhood?

A lovely neighborhood.

The same for the young lady.

I'll drive you there.
The owners are friends.

It's surrounded by trees.

It seems very far.

I took the long way.

The traffic's heavy
at this time of day.

That's the train
that will take you to Paris.

In less than 20 minutes.

Don't you feel lonely,
so far from your family?

A little, sometimes.

Those dogs...

How many are there?

You see?
You'll be well protected.

Miss Edna Grüberg.

Mr. Dormeuil.


Some port
to refresh you after the drive?

No, thank you, sir.
I don't want to stay too long.

Come now, there's no hurry.

I'll show you your room.

It looks out over the trees.

I'm sure you'll like it.

I don't know.
I have to think it over.

First, you really must see the room.

Of course, at night
it's hard to judge.

It's not that, but the suburbs
aren't very convenient for me.

What do you mean?

The suburbs are very convenient.
Very convenient.

Maybe so, but...

I don't want to get back
to Paris too late tonight.

I'm meeting a friend.
I'll let you know tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be too late, my dear.

Open up, quickly.

I'll start after dinner.

This time...

I must try removing
a larger section.

In one piece.

Not in sections.



Wipe my brow.




Here we go.

People are all the same.

They love pets
when they're young.

When their pets grow up
and eat too much,

they abandon them in the woods.

I say you should never
do things halfway.

Especially since the second half
is by far the easiest part.

Calm down!

Shut up!

Did she eat normally?
- Yes, very well.

She'd been wasting away.

She's happy this time.
She has faith.


I showed her how nicely it's healing.

I changed the bandages.
It looks fine.

Much better than yesterday.

- I'm so afraid.
- Don't be.

I have faith this time too.

All I can do is hope.

If this were a success... God!

You couldn't put a price on it.

I've done so much wrong
to perform this miracle.

I've done you a lot of wrong, too.

I know, but I'll never forget
that I owe you my face.

I sometimes forget that myself.

With good reason.

There's hardly any trace now.

What have you decided about Edna?

Look after her. Feed her.

I'll decide later.

Edna! She's escaped!

That way.

No other details that come to mind?

Well, no.


Edna said the woman
always wore a thick pearl necklace.

See what I mean?

She wore it high around her neck,
like a choker.

That doesn't help us much.

Please sign.

That'll be all, young lady.

Pretty, isn't she?

The same series of blue-eyed girls.

All students, all the same age,
all the same type of beauty.

And all mysteriously missing.

This one's Swiss. You can imagine –
the embassy, the phone calls...

Speaking of blue-eyed girls,

what do I do with mine?

She was caught shoplifting.

Give her a stern lecture
and let her go.

But get her address.
It might come in handy.

This is how you end up in prison.

It was the first time.

I don't know what got into me.

Next time, you'll go to court.

Let me have your address.

12 rue des Pyrénées,
in the 20th arrondissement.

Now get lost.

I knew I would succeed.

To think that
you didn't believe in me.

Now you have your lovely face.

Your real face.

You can start life over again.


But I also have to come back
to life for others.

How can I?

You can start by taking a trip,
a long trip.

I'll get you new papers.

You can choose yourself a name.

Won't that be fun?

A new face,

a new identity.

You're more beautiful than ever.

There's something angelic
about you now.

I don't know about that.

When I look in a mirror,

I feel I'm looking at someone
who looks like me,

but seems to come from the Beyond,

from the Beyond.

What about Jacques?

Obviously, that does pose a problem.

I'll explain it to him.

He loves you so much.

He'll be very happy.



Not too much.

Give him a shot of Pentothal.
I'll be right down.

Another emergency.

Will you come with me?
Sorry, darling.

You're not wearing makeup, I hope?


No reason.

You have rosy cheeks, that's all.

See you tomorrow, darling.

I won't be long.
I'll come up to say good night.

You looked anxious examining her.

You're imagining things.

Why are you lying?

I've known you long enough
to read your face.

Tell me the truth.

I've failed.

February 15.

February 20.

A week after healing,
spots of pigmentation appear.

Later, palpation reveals
small subcutaneous nodules.

On Day 12, necrosis
of the graft tissue is apparent.

Day 20...

The first ulcerations and signs
of rejection of the graft tissue.

The necrotic graft tissue
must be removed.

With any old dog,
everything's possible.

I'll have to settle
for this beastliness.

I'm listening.

Say something.

This is infuriating!

Say something!


Are you mad?
Who were you calling?

No one.

Do you realize
how reckless you're being?

I know.
The dead should keep quiet.

Then let me be dead for good.

I can't stand it anymore!

I don't dare look at myself.

I can't touch my face

for fear of feeling the furrows
and crevices in my skin.

It feels like rubber!

Calm down, my dear.
Trust in him.

I'm sure he'll succeed.

He never will.

He'll keep experimenting on me
like one of his dogs.

A human guinea pig.
What a godsend for him!

You have no right to say that.

I want to die... please!

There are those injections he gives
the dogs when things go wrong!

Stop talking like that!

You have to kill me.
I can't stand it anymore!

Come up, quickly!

I'm sure of it.
I heard Christiane's voice.

You thought you did.
Over the phone.

Did you mention it
to Professor Génessier?

Of course. But he insists
he identified his daughter's body.

I know. I was there.

What can I say?

Maybe it was a practical joke.


Well, Doctor, I deal in facts.

These files are filled
with testimonies.

“I think that...”
“My feeling is that...”

A lot of vague descriptions.

Here: The red taxi picking up a girl.

The handsome woman
with a pearl choker

who was seen with the other girl.

A pearl choker?

That ring a bell?

Hold on.

Yes, it reminds me of someone.

But the other day you said
I was off the hook.

I hoped so, Miss Paulette Mérodon,

but the case went higher up.

They say I was too easy on you.

So that means I'm done for.

Does that mean prison?
- There's the trial first.

The trial!

My parents will never get over it.

I've been thinking.

There may be a way to avoid all this.

Obviously, it would involve
a great deal of discretion.

And some intelligence.

I can be very discreet.

And as for intelligence...

if it's not too complicated.

You'll see.

You just have to do us
a little favor.

- What do I have to do?
- Bleach your hair, for starters.

- You're kidding.
- That's not our style.

You have to be much blonder.

- It won't suit me.
- It doesn't matter.

Then a doctor will have you
admitted to a clinic.

- But I'm not sick!
- You'll say you are.

Brief her on the details.

At the clinic,
you'll complain of migraines.

I'll write it all down.

I'll give you a note for Dr. Gleize.

He'll give you a letter
for Dr. Génessier.


What's that?

Wait, I'll write it down.

She can be admitted
tomorrow morning.

Don't worry.
I'll keep an eye on her.

Sure, it's just to check out a hunch.

If anything happens,
I'll let you know immediately.

You're coming along fine.

Just fine, Doctor.

The young lady
was admitted this morning.

- The attending physician?
- Dr. Gleize.

Here's his letter.

You're in great pain?


At times.

Do a funduscopy
and an electroencephalogram today.

Are you going to shave my head?

I hope not, anyway.

That would be a shame.

An e...lectro...encephalogram...

Don't be afraid.

We're friends.

Don't touch your forehead.

Tell me how many fingers
I'm holding up.


And now... how many?


No... two.

What do you think, Doctor?

I'm hopeful.

Tell me, Doctor.

Can you save him?

Of course we can.

Trust me.

Your prognosis?

And yours?

We agree.

Close your eyes.

Open your eyes.

That's it.
You can open your eyes.

You'll feel a slight electric shock.
It won't hurt.

Don't move.



Open your eyes.

Close them.

Bring me the chart
as soon as you've finished.

Nothing seems to be wrong
with this Paulette Mérodon girl.

Bed 15 is hemorrhaging, sir.

Take care of it, Jacques.

Here's the chart, sir.

No abnormalities.

Release her tonight.

It will free up a bed.

We may have an emergency tonight.

- Do I give this form to you?
- That's right.

- May I make a call?
- To Paris?

What number?
- 4284.

Mom? It's Paulette.

Everything's fine.
I'm coming home.

See you in a bit.

What do I owe you?
- There's no charge.

How can I get back to Paris?

By bus. Turn left as you leave.
It's a 15-minute walk.

Can I give you a lift, miss?
I'm going your way.

With pleasure, madame.

Inspector Parot?

It's Jacques Vernon.

What's that, Doctor?

She left already?

They don't drag
their feet at your clinic.

They sure don't keep them locked up.

What did I tell you?

But we'll check to make sure
she got home safely.

Thanks for letting us know.

There are two men
asking for you at the clinic.

You know I don't have time.

Tell them to come back tomorrow.

Sorry to disturb you at this hour.

We want to know if Miss Paulette
Mérodon checked out earlier.

How did you know
she was checking out?

She called home to say
she was on her way.

She never arrived.

So we came down to check.

Easy enough.

I gave the order to release the patient.

Has Paulette Mérodon been released?
- I'll see.

So, interested
in this young lady, are you?

She's mixed up in a case we're on.

We wanted to talk to her tonight.

I have a feeling that you're a little late.

Paulette Mérodon. Here it is.

I remember now: a girl with blue eyes.
She made a call from here.

I told her where she could
catch the bus.

You see?

I'm sorry,

but once they walk
through those doors,

my patients are no longer
my responsibility.

I understand.

Again, sorry to disturb you.

Don't mention it.

Well, good night, Professor.

Since you're leaving, Jacques,
please show these gentlemen out.

I'm sorry I wasted your time.

It's nothing.

We're used to following up bum leads.

And I put myself in your place.
You start getting ideas...

It's all these coincidences.

I wanted to put my mind at ease.

So we've put our mind at ease.

As for your heart,

I'm sure things will work out
for you on that end.

You're young, Doctor.

You have your life ahead of you.

Put that down!