DVD Review – A Woman’s Face

A Woman’s Face 

Director: George Cukor

Screenplay: Donald Ogden Stewart

Minutes: 106

Year: 1941

Score: 6.13

Release: Warner Archives Collection


A Woman’s Face is certainly not the strongest George Cukor film, nor is it the best Joan Crawford film I watched in the last two weeks but it was alright.

The film tells the story of Anna Holm, played by Joan Crawford, who is a shrewd businesswoman with a horribly scarred face. The film is a long flashback sequence that doesn’t play too well. Holm happens across a plastic surgeon who offers to rebuild her face and give her back the beauty she had lost. After the surgery Holm does a 180, marries, and moves out the country. But her past will not leave her alone.

One issue I take with the film is also one of its strengths. At its release Joan Crawford was lauded for risking her beautiful presence taking a starring role with prosthetic make-up. Looking at the film through a lens of history I have to question why Crawford’s character should have to fix a beauty issue to be taken seriously.

It is telling that this has always been an issue with society. Beauty is rewarded. I thought that the scarred Crawford was a better businessperson who gave it all up to become a den mother after her surgery.

This is a good movie, don’t get me wrong but it can easily fall behind the dresser behind the higher profile vehicles by Crawford and Cukor. I thank the Warner Archive Collection for keeping some of these Joan Crawford films available. The picture is crisp and clear and it is worth noting that the film has several great transition edits; they are functional and would certainly help to make the films feel fresh.

I recommend A Woman’s Face to fans of redemption/noir films or any Joan Crawford fan. The DVD is available at WBShop.com!

Detailed Score

Director: 5 – Cinematography: 6 –  Edit: 10 – Parity: 6 – Main performance: 6 – Else performance: 4 – Score:  6 – Sound: 5 – Story: 6 – Script: 7 – Effects: 6 – Design: 7 – Costumes: 8 – Keeps interest: 5 – Lasting: 5