The Eternal Mask

  • 1937
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This eerie psychological drama evokes memories of the early German expressionist films. Wieman is a young physician who believes he has concocted a cure for meningitis, but he is ordered not to try it out by the chief of the facility where he works. One of his patients is terminal, so Wieman gives him the serum against orders. At first, the patient seems...read more

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This eerie psychological drama evokes memories of the early German expressionist films. Wieman is a young physician who believes he has concocted a cure for meningitis, but he is ordered not to try it out by the chief of the facility where he works. One of his patients is terminal, so

Wieman gives him the serum against orders. At first, the patient seems to be improving, but then takes a bad turn and dies.

Wieman leaves the hospital, and a sequence begins in which the audience is never certain what is real and what is fantasy. The sets commence to change subtly as Wieman feels his life as a doctor is over. He haunts the streets, and everything around him becomes increasingly stylistic as he goes

deeper into psychotic depression. He throws himself off a bridge and plunges into a river. After he's rescued, he is almost totally incapacitated and lives his life almost solely within his mind, running down mental corridors, hiding behind mental doorways, but never actually moving. The hospital

chief discovers that the serum actually does work, and he must now approach Wieman, who is the only person who knows the formula.

If this film were only technique, it would remain a cinematic exercise and little more, but the power of the film lies in a combination of Hochbaum's directorial vision and Lapaire's sympathetic screenplay. Sometimes jerky, sometimes agonizingly slow, THE ETERNAL MASK builds to a satisfying

conclusion, and the entire experience is unforgettable.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This eerie psychological drama evokes memories of the early German expressionist films. Wieman is a young physician who believes he has concocted a cure for meningitis, but he is ordered not to try it out by the chief of the facility where he works. One of… (more)

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