False Face (1977)

R | 95 mins | Melodrama | January 1977

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HISTORY

End credits include statements: " The Dying Poet by Louis M. Gottschalk"; "Bar sequence filmed at the Crazy Horse, Atlanta" and "Filmed on location in Atlanta and Covington, GA. We wish to thank the Georgia Film Office for their excellent cooperation and assistance."
       The 27 Oct 1975 Box reported that a New Orleans, LA-style funeral scene for False Face was shot in southwest Atlanta, GA's Oakland Cemetery. The cemetery's sexton was on hand to make sure the cast and crew didn't walk on the graves while the cameramen avoided shooting the names on gravestones. Other locations included the antebellum Turner mansion in nearby Covington, GA, which General William Sherman reportedly spared during his Civil War March to the Sea, and the Atlanta offices of the Georgia Film Commission.
       The 29 Oct 1975 HR reported that principal photography had recently ended and that post-production was underway in New York City.
       The film's budget was $400,000, according to the 15 Dec 1976 Var.
       After being distributed in 1977 by United International Films, False Face was acquired by Avco Embassy Pictures and retitled Scalpel for a second release in Sep 1978, according to the 23 Apr 1978 DV and the 15 Aug 1978 HR. ... More Less

End credits include statements: " The Dying Poet by Louis M. Gottschalk"; "Bar sequence filmed at the Crazy Horse, Atlanta" and "Filmed on location in Atlanta and Covington, GA. We wish to thank the Georgia Film Office for their excellent cooperation and assistance."
       The 27 Oct 1975 Box reported that a New Orleans, LA-style funeral scene for False Face was shot in southwest Atlanta, GA's Oakland Cemetery. The cemetery's sexton was on hand to make sure the cast and crew didn't walk on the graves while the cameramen avoided shooting the names on gravestones. Other locations included the antebellum Turner mansion in nearby Covington, GA, which General William Sherman reportedly spared during his Civil War March to the Sea, and the Atlanta offices of the Georgia Film Commission.
       The 29 Oct 1975 HR reported that principal photography had recently ended and that post-production was underway in New York City.
       The film's budget was $400,000, according to the 15 Dec 1976 Var.
       After being distributed in 1977 by United International Films, False Face was acquired by Avco Embassy Pictures and retitled Scalpel for a second release in Sep 1978, according to the 23 Apr 1978 DV and the 15 Aug 1978 HR.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Oct 1975.
---
Daily Variety
28 Apr 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 1976
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 1978.
---
Variety
15 Dec 1976
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
P. J. Productions Company Presents
An Avco Embassy Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
From an original story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Asst elec
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Swing man
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward asst
Mr. Lansing's wardrobe by
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Loc sd rec
Boom man
MAKEUP
Asst make-up
Makeup & Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Medical consultant
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Prod secy
Asst to the prods
Loc consult
Loc consult
Loc security
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
SONGS
"After The Ball," words and music by Charles K. Harris.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Scalpel
Release Date:
January 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 6 June 1979
Production Date:
autumn 1975 in Atlanta, GA--late October 1975
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
95
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Dr. Phillip "Phil" Reynolds, an Atlanta, Georgia, plastic surgeon and his brother-in-law, Bradley Thorndike, commiserate after the funeral of Bradley’s father, Robert Thorndike. The late Thorndike, in his will, has bequeathed his entire fortune—$5 million—to his granddaughter (Phil’s daughter), Heather, who disappeared a year earlier. At that time, Phil had drugged and drowned her boyfriend, Donald Newman. Now, as Phil and Bradley drink in a hotel bar, Bradley wonders why Thorndike left Phil nothing. Phil says that Thorndike considered plastic surgeons to be modern-day Dr. Frankensteins serving the vanity of women. Also, the old man blamed Phil for the death of his daughter (Phil's wife), Jennifer. Meanwhile, a strip club bouncer mercilessly beats a dancer's face. He throws her out of the club and she stumbles into the street, where Phil almost hits her with his car. He and Bradley take the girl to Phil's hospital. As Phil calls the police, he looks at a photograph of Heather and hangs up. A nurse tells Phil that the “Jane Doe” had no identification. She is coming out of shock and her vital signs are good, but her jaw is broken, her nose crushed, and the soft-tissue of her face is damaged. In the operating room, Phil rebuilds Jane's face to match Heather’s. Six months later, while Jane still has her face wrapped in bandages, Phil suggests that she come home with him. He explains that Jane might be able to pass for Heather and inherit $2.5 million. Phil promises to teach Jane everything she needs to know, and that she will have to impersonate Heather only twice. Over the following weeks, Phil plays tapes of Heather's voice, and shows Jane ... +


Dr. Phillip "Phil" Reynolds, an Atlanta, Georgia, plastic surgeon and his brother-in-law, Bradley Thorndike, commiserate after the funeral of Bradley’s father, Robert Thorndike. The late Thorndike, in his will, has bequeathed his entire fortune—$5 million—to his granddaughter (Phil’s daughter), Heather, who disappeared a year earlier. At that time, Phil had drugged and drowned her boyfriend, Donald Newman. Now, as Phil and Bradley drink in a hotel bar, Bradley wonders why Thorndike left Phil nothing. Phil says that Thorndike considered plastic surgeons to be modern-day Dr. Frankensteins serving the vanity of women. Also, the old man blamed Phil for the death of his daughter (Phil's wife), Jennifer. Meanwhile, a strip club bouncer mercilessly beats a dancer's face. He throws her out of the club and she stumbles into the street, where Phil almost hits her with his car. He and Bradley take the girl to Phil's hospital. As Phil calls the police, he looks at a photograph of Heather and hangs up. A nurse tells Phil that the “Jane Doe” had no identification. She is coming out of shock and her vital signs are good, but her jaw is broken, her nose crushed, and the soft-tissue of her face is damaged. In the operating room, Phil rebuilds Jane's face to match Heather’s. Six months later, while Jane still has her face wrapped in bandages, Phil suggests that she come home with him. He explains that Jane might be able to pass for Heather and inherit $2.5 million. Phil promises to teach Jane everything she needs to know, and that she will have to impersonate Heather only twice. Over the following weeks, Phil plays tapes of Heather's voice, and shows Jane photos of Heather’s friends and family members until she knows each one and how to act around them. However, Heather was also a piano prodigy who was always entertaining friends, but Jane can play only "Chopsticks." When Phil eventually takes off the bandages, Jane looks like Heather. A couple of weeks later, Jane is ready to meet the family at a welcome home party. However, Phil is still wary of Bradley, who seems to suspect that something is amiss; as well as Dr. Robert Dean, a family friend who runs a local sanitarium. The suspicious Bradley announces that Heather will perform at the piano. When Jane sits down and hits a few chords, Phil explains that while Heather was gone, she suffered a shock and is unable to play. The next day, Jane signs the paper that gives her the $5-million trust, then explains that since Phil had been mistreated by her grandfather, she wants to give half of the money to her him. Later, Jane kisses Phil, then takes off her dress. They spend a few days vacationing. However, when they arrive home, Bradley sits in the living room, drinking. Bradley asks Jane to play the piano, but Phil tells him that Dr. Dean says it will be awhile before Heather can play. Bradley grabs Jane’s hands, pounds them on the keys, and demands to know who she really is. Suddenly, Bradley suffers a heart attack. Lying on the floor, he tries to take one of his heart pills, but Phil snatches them away and plays “Chopsticks” until Bradley dies. At Bradley’s New Orleans, Louisiana-style funeral, the real Heather watches the ceremony from behind a gravestone. To Phil's surprise, Heather is at the house when he and Jane return. At dinner, Jane does not eat much and leaves the table. Phil explains how he met Jane, and Heather says that everyone must think she and Jane look alike. Father and daughter reminisce and she is surprised to hear that her grandfather died six months earlier. Over the next few weeks, as the three share the house, Heather objects to the way Jane and her dad touch each other, and Jane resents the closeness between Heather and Phil. When Heather inquires about her grandfather’s will, Phil says the old man left everything to the University of Atlanta. Later, Jane tells Phil that it is obvious that Heather knows about their ruse. The next day, Heather tells Jane to leave, but also wonders if she and Jane imitated each other, how long would it take Phil to catch on. Jane answers, "Till bedtime." Soon afterward, Heather drives into Atlanta to talk to Mr. Branch, the lawyer who handled her grandfather’s will. Phil and Jane go to a bar, where she suggests they pay Heather off, but Phil says Heather wouldn't take the money. He nods toward a burly bartender and tells Heather that the man has experience taking care of problems. The next day, while Phil and Jane are at the lake, the bartender comes to the house and tells Heather he is there to fix a leak. She takes him to the basement, and when he comes back, he says that he recognizes her from when he used to bartend at a club a couple of summers earlier. Meanwhile, as Phil and Jane drive away from the lake, a policeman stops them and asks for identification. Jane says she is Phil’s daughter, but Phil says she is lying. When the policeman tries to handcuff Jane, she escapes into the woods. The policeman runs after Jane, catches her, and puts his gun to her head. Phil returns to the house and first tells Heather that Jane had an accident at the lake and died, then says he killed Jane. When Phil tries to make love to Heather, Jane walks in wearing a police uniform and hits Phil on the head with a skillet. As Jane hugs Heather, the two laugh. Heather injects Phil with a truth serum and explains that she has been in Dr. Dean's sanitarium ever since the time she saw her father drown Donald. Her grandfather was the only person who knew where she was. Knowing that Phil was a murderer, Dr. Dean had told Bradley that Jane was a fake, and they were ready to put Phil away until Heather talked them out of it. Jane tells Heather what happened to Bradley when he died. Dr. Dean arrives and sedates Phil. Men in white coats put Phil in a straitjacket and take him to the sanitarium. Jane rides along with the attendants, leaving Heather and Dr. Dean alone together in an embrace. At the airport, Jane meets Thorndike’s lawyers and takes control of her $2.5 million in thousand dollar bills. As for Phil’s $2.5 million, she tells them to keep it in her account and invest wisely until she returns, then she flies away in a private jet. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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