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The Man with My Face 1951
Description: A boy discovers that an evil twin has taken over his life.
Released: 02 Jan 1952 Director: Edward Montagne Writers: Vin Bogert, Tom McGowan, Edward Montagne, Samuel W. Taylor (novel), Samuel W. Taylor (screenplay) Actors: Barry Nelson, Carole Mathews, Lynn Ainley, John Harvey Genres: Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller
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The Man with My Face Reviews:

THE MAN WITH MY FACE is a better-than-average B film with some of the attending convenient plot devices, but enough twists and turns to satisfy most Noir fans. Visually, it has enough Noir style to appear connected to the main Noir cycle. The film's plot fits Noir expectations neatly, and it's only limited by a several B film contrivances. With its unusual setting and well-played lead performance, this is a film deserving a look by all Noir enthusiasts.Only two well-known names appear in the cast: lead Barry Nelson and Jack Warden (in a very tiny role). Nelson shows himself to be more than capable in a dual role. He doesn't differentiate the characters terribly much, but plays them both with conviction. There is a timely reference for Barry Nelson too: he was the first James Bond seen on screen by US audiences, in the 1954 TV ver of CASINO ROYALE. As Cora, Lynn Ainley is very hard-edged and unsympathetic. Even her final act speech of regret won't soften most viewers toward her. She's a greedy harpy who deserves her fate. Everyone else is just fine in the film, with an interesting appearance by Jack Elam-look alike Jim Boles, as Meadows the Doberman trainer. Director Edward Montagne (THE TATTOOED STRANGER) made a tag soon in TV sitcoms (especially MCHALE'S NAVY). Creator Samuel W. Taylor could not be confused with the Samuel A. Taylor credited with the screenplay for VERTIGO, despite some slight connections between the stories.Right from the opening credits, it's clear that THE MAN WITH MY FACE will not take zone in typical Noir territory. And like many another superior B movies, the territories are used to advantage. The town of San Juan, beaches, hotels and stores contribute a special look and atmosphere. Few local amateur residents are given tiny acting roles as well. The final chase sequence appears to have been shot at the decayed Fort San Cristobal. It provides plenty of dark passageways and vertiginous precipices to hold things interesting.Synopsis **SPOILERS AHEAD**The plot is pure Noir, with a fairly original twist. "Chick" Graham (Barry Nelson) works for a tiny insurance company in San Juan, partnered with his brother-in-law Buster Cox (John Harvey). One day, Chick leaves the office and heads home. When he arrives there, his wife Cora (Lynn Ainley) and her brother claim not to know who he is. The two are very insistent, and even Chick's beloved dog doesn't seem to recognize him. What's going on? A very confused Chick is then stupefied when a boy identical to himself (also played by Nelson) walks in and claims to be Chick Graham. Cora threatens to call the police, and in fact does so when the true Chick becomes insistent that the entire thing gotta be a gag. Terrible confused Chick is carted off by San Juan policeman. But he manages to escape when a vicious Doberman meant to attack him instead knocks over the policeman.Now a familiar Noir narrative begins, as Chick sets out to determine just what has been happening, and who this mysterious Chick #2 can be. Sitting in a hotel bar, Chick (#1) is greeted by a salesman who recognizes him and Chick says the boy to meet him at the office soon to support with his investigation. But greed gets the greatest of the salesman and he cooks up a scheme to blackmail Graham. Unfortunately for him, the salesman proposes his scheme to Chick #2 (now revealed to be a boy called Al Grant), who with his henchman makes fast work of the salesman by method of the vicious Doberman. So Chick is back to square one. He contacts a former girlfriend he jilted before marrying Cora. The girlfriend, Mary Davis (Carole Mathews) obviously still loves Chick and despite the insistence of her cynical brother (Jack Warden), she agrees to support him solve the mystery. At this point, other woman, Juanita, enters the film, a former romantic associate of Al Grant. Juanita, accosts Chick on the road and angrily insists he come to her apartment. Thinking he will gather more notification for his quest, Chick goes along. After convincing Juanita that he is not the boy she thinks he is, Chick leaves. Later, terrible Juanita is found dead and Chick Graham is the prime suspect for her murder. With his handsome visage on the front page of each San Juan newspaper, Chick really needs to work quick to clear his name. Eventually, Chick and Al meet again, and Al plans to slay Chick so that Al and Cora can flee on the next plane, along with few hundred thousand dollars in embezzled funds. Fortunately, Chick outsmarts even the tenacious Doberman left to guard him. He escapes and, after a very effective chase sequence, manages to expose the criminals for what they are.THE MAN WITH MY FACE has a combination of the "wrong man" theme (best seen in Hitchcock's THE WRONG MAN) and the doppelganger concept (exemplified in THE SCAR). The movie has a strongly Noir sense of oppression, felt mainly in the narrative and not supported very much by the visual style. It's a well-done B film with a special location, some exciting episodes and a fine performance by Barry Nelson. A worthy submission to any B-Noir catalog.


Wildly improbable but seldom less than absorbing, The Boy With My Face has the distinction of being the only movie noir set in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. That's where Barry Nelson settled down after the fight and where he runs a tiny business with his old units buddy, actually his brother-in-law, John Harvey. But one evening he returns home to his cozy bungalow only to search his tough-faced wife (Lynn Ainley) staring at him as if he had suddenly grown a second head. In a sense he has, because there in his living room is his exact double, having drinks and testing cards. And as far as Ainley and Harvey are concerned, this newcomer is the true husband and business partner, respectively. Even his tiny pooch bites Nelson on the hand.Turned out into the Caribbean warm, Nelson enlists the support of an old girlfriend (Carole Mathews) whom he had thrown over for the blonde if shopworn Ainley. Mathews' protective brother (Jack Warden) stays wary, but later joins in trying to figure out the puzzle. It doesn't take long, because Nelson's face is on the front page - as a Miami bank robber who got away with half a million. This robber - the double - has been in league with the wife and brother-in-law since long before the marriage. Rounding out the gang is other fight veteran, but as a member of K-9 corps - a Doberman trained to kill; his slavering maw turns few hapless victims into bowls of Alpo.Edward Montagne directed, who the year before had made The Tattooed Stranger, a starvation-budget police procedural shot on zone - then a rarity - in Fresh York City. Like that strange and seedy movie, The Boy With My Face shares a cast that, apart from Nelson, had several credits behind them (or ahead of them); it shows tiny visual dimension, either, having been shot entirely in flat subtropical sunshine. But the doppelganger theme holds attention, despite the fact that its ironies and perversities are never pursued to true satisfaction. It's pure plot, and far-fetched at that, but in its modest method it works.


Barry Nelson starred or guest starred in about 60 T.V. shows from the 1950's to the 1980's. He even starred in three various tv series in the 1950's, none of which lasted a full season. His triumphs on tv included being the first James Bond on film/video in a 1954 "Climax" episode based on Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" and an perfect made for tv suspense film named "The Borgia Stick" (1967). Three "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and a "Twilight Zone" episode also adds to his reputation.This is only one of four theatrical details that he starred in. "Undercover Maizie" (1947), "The First Traveling Saleslady" (1956) and "Mary Mary" (1963)were the another three. In truth, the female leads: Ann Sothern, Ginger Rodgers, Debbie Reynolds were the stars of these three movie. Thus this is really the only theatrical film where Nelson was the main star.It is a showy part with Nelson being both the protagonist and antagonist. He handles both part well. Nelson was never a flashy actor, but he everytime brought sincerity and charm to his roles.Carole Matthews also was known mainly as a tv actress from the 1950's and 1960's. She was in about 50 tv shows, but only testing leading roles in a half dozen or so. She also starred in about half a dozen weak budget films like this one. Like Nelson, she is also a fine actress who is quite believable even in wonderful films like this one. It is sad she never got better roles and never became a star.Like D.O.A., this movie noir begins with a fully wonderful plot and then tries to convince you that it is possible. A boy arrives home one day to search that a double has taken over his life. Unlike D.O.A., this one doesn't convince you that such a thing is possible, but it is fun, nevertheless and you have the give the script credit for trying.Perhaps the true star of the film is a Doberman Pincher who does his greatest to convince you that he is a trained assassin. He doesn't quite create it, but he is a handsome and well trained dog.The film is nicely photographed and has lots of nice shots of Puerto Rico circa 1954. This is no masterpiece, but it is interesting and original enough to hold one watching for its short length of 70 minutes.



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