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Burnt out by his work as plastic surgeon, Doc Phil Ritter (Paul
Henreid) takes a vacation in the country, and in a hotel in the middle of
nowhere, he meets the love of his life, Alice (Lizabeth Scott). The two
spend the time of their life in the hotel, but soon it becomes apparent
that Alice has some secrets from Phil, and one day she just leaves without
notice. when Phil is finally able to track her down in London, he learns
that she is about to get married.
Heartbroken Phil returns to work, doing a project on giving disfigured
convicts plastic surgery to facilitate their reentry into normal society.
Before long he meets young but disfigured Lily (Mary Mackenzie), who has
spent half of her life in prison, possibly because of her wicked looks and
resulting problems. So Phil remodels her in the image of Alice (and Lily
is then also played by Lizabeth Scott), and soon enough, he falls in love
with Lily and marries her, taking her for the perfect replacement.
But Lily has a problem, she can't simply shake old habits, and thus
continues shoplifting (and expensive stuff like jewellery and furcoats,
too), plus she still as some underworld friends like Pete (Terence
O'Regan), her secret lover, who are not at all to the Doctor's liking.
Then Alice returns, tells Phil she didn't get married after all, and
tries to make up with him - but now it's of course too late ...
When Lily finds out about Alice, it doesn't take her long to figure out
that Phil doesn't love her but the face he gave her ... and she starts
drinking and partying heavily, behaves rude towards him and accuses him of
cheating on her.
It all culminates in a showdown on a train, where Lily drunkenly gets
into a fight with her husband, right before Alice (of all people) enters
the compartment ... and ultimately, Lily falls out of the train to her
If you look very closely, you might be able to find story elements in
this film that predate Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo by six years, but
that aside, Stolen Face is a very mediocre crime drama that seems
to be rather undecided about which direction to take, which story to tell
- and as a result the film doesn't really get anywhere and leaves open way
too many questions to actually work.
Not really good.