Tuesday, October 12, 2010
It being October and all, we're ready to get into the Halloween spirit by resurrecting a series we haven't visited in a while: Horrifyingly Beautiful Interiors - STUDY's ode to two things we love: beautifully designed spaces and downright creepy movies. If you can marry the two, then you've pretty much achieved perfection in our book. Today's entry is Georges Franju's 1959 film Les Yeux Sans Visage or as Billy Idol might have called it, Eyes Without a Face.
With production design by Auguste Capelier, Eyes follows the brilliant but obsessed Dr. Génessier as he tries in vain to transplant a fresh face onto the disfigured mug of daughter Christiane. Given that Génessier is a surgeon and the film was shot in the fifties, Eyes delivers wholeheartedly in the vintage medical equipment arena:
But since Génessier is also, you know, kidnapping young ladies across the French countryside in order to restore his daughter's beauty, he also needs to keep things a bit quiet. Hence the underground lair and odd sub-plot involving keeping an extraordinarily well-designed kennel:
Despite his questionable medical practices, Génessier also operates an above-ground clinic that really is top-notch in the interiors arena:
If my doctor had giant palms flanking the entrance to his clinic, I really wouldn't care what he did in his spare time.
Finally, Génessier's office is unlike anything you're likely to see at Northwestern these days. First take the killer sconces and then add picture molding!?!? I don't think my heart can take it.
And, in a scene to rival the best that Scout has to offer any day of the week, we get to see Christiane's boyfriend's circa-1959 pad in all it's French mid-century glory.
But keeping true to the film's French roots there are still more daybeds, Louis XVI chairs, lush swags and imposing marble-topped sideboards than you can shake a disfigured French girl's mask at.
Les Yeux Sans Visage runs 90 minutes and is available on DVD and Blueray from The Criterion Collection. Watch it with someone you love, or at least someone who appreciates design and/or medical procedures.
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