Faces in the Dark (1960)

Mai Zetterling and John Gregson in Faces in the Dark (1960)

Madness in the Dark

Richard Hammond (John Gregson) is a man driven by a desire to create the perfect light bulb. It is a drive which has frustrated his wife Christiane (Mai Zetterling) who feels ignored and bothered his business partner David Merton (Michael Denison) who thinks he is wasting his time and money on an unimportant project. When an accident in the workshop leaves Richard blind it also leads to him starting to lose it causing even more concern for Christiane, David as well as Richard's brother Max (John Ireland) who decide he needs to get away and take him to their home in the country. But things get worse as Richard initially thinks he is going mad in the silence of a home which feels different then believes someone is trying to make him go mad.

9 out of 10 movies I have watched which not only give us a good guy actor playing a bad guy but then making the bad guy the central role end up failing. It is that aspect of how can we champion someone who we don't like because they are so loathsome. Some how "Faces in the Dark" manages to be that other 1 as John Gregson delivers a truly unlikeable character in Richard Hammond whose bossy ways especially to his wife are a complete turn off yet somehow we still feel something for him, feel for him even though he is still an arrogant and demanding git after the accident which leaves him blind.

Nanette Newman in Faces in the Dark (1960)

It is a good job that somehow Gregson still gets us on his side as what happens in "Faces in the Dark" is okay but nothing special. The minute that Richard loses his sight but still ends up cold and demanding you can start to predict that we have a storyline which will go down the madness route. It is obvious because of Richard's character as he isn't trusting and without his sight he becomes even less trusting which with the loss of his sight naturally drives him mad. But then we get the aspect of whether or not he is going mad or is someone trying to push him over the edge into madness and if so who is doing it; is it Christiane, David, Max or maybe even driver Clem or maid Janet which leads me to quickly mention the attractive Nanette Newman in a minor role but grabbing your attention in a maids outfit.

The thing is that despite basically going against the unwritten rules of movie making whilst also being quite obvious "Faces in the Dark" still ends up interesting even though there isn't really a sympathetic character in the entire movie. It is also just as surprising as whilst the acting is good but mostly unremarkable the directing of David Eady is unremarkable many an opportunity to deliver tension and style lost because of some ordinary camera work and just as ordinary use of lighting.

What this all boils down to is that "Faces in the Dark" is an interesting movie which manages to break the rules yet till keep you interested as John Gregson plays a loathsome businessman who we are to champion.