Directed by George Cukor • 1941 • United States
Starring Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Veidt
This expressionistically stylized melodrama features one of Joan Crawford’s finest performances, as a criminal whose facial disfigurement has rendered her a deeply bitter social outcast. When she orchestrates a blackmail scheme in order to pay for plastic surgery, it looks like a chance for a fresh start—but then her past returns to haunt her. Coaxing a vulnerability out of Crawford that few directors were able to capture so effectively, George Cukor crafts a darkly fascinating thriller that approaches the surreal in its delirious chiaroscuro visuals and obsessive investigation into the tension between illusion and reality.