Plastic surgeon Henreid has a fling with concert pianist Scott, who is running away from her upcoming tour and marriage. She breaks off the affair, but he can't let it go. So he takes his next patient, a disfigured criminal, and gives her his former lover's face. Unfortunately, a new face doesn't change old habits.
Often said to be Hammer's first horror film, it really is more of a film noir, with faint echoes of Dark Passage and Rebecca, and future hints of such films as Les yeux sans visage. The cast is generally good, especially Mackenzie as the patient whose face is remade and Morell as Scott's fiancé. Henreid is affably stiff, as always, while Scott tries, but the emotional range required of her character is just out of reach. Plus for most of the film she is really just a vehicle for Mackenzie's voice.
There is a subtle and unsavory, but oh so British, undertone here that all the denizens of the lower classes are criminal scum and will remain that way even if exposed to the rarified atmosphere of the upper classes. Of course, the worst person here is Henreid's morally corrupt doctor, and everyone toadies to him merely because of that prefix to his name.
Note: Credits as listed are from UK version; the US credits are in different order, and only list nine names. John Warren and Frank Hawkins are listed by BFI as "commercial travelers," but it seems that scene was cut. Warren appears to be the railway guard in the final scene, but it might just be his voice dubbed in.
Thanks to Philly for correcting my usual errors!