Face Value: The Rhetoric of Facial Disfigurement in American Film and Popular Culture, 1917-27
Journal of War and Culture Studies
Taylor & Francis/ Intellect
Reason for embargo
The return of facially disfigured men from the trenches of World War One occasioned a muted public reaction in the US. However, this article will show that burgeoning discourses concerning plastic surgery in the US also generated a significant reaction in the popular press, and that these were reflected, too, in several feature films dealing with facial surgery on disfigured veterans. Though several of these films depicted miraculous transformations occasioned by the surgeons, Robert Florey’s 1927 film, Face Value, focused on an American veteran with facial scarring that could not be repaired. The article will argue that this film drew strongly upon the increasingly prominent public presence of the gueules cassées in the US during 1926 and 1927. Depicting gueules cassées and their facial injuries prominently in several scenes, the film brought to attention difficult questions concerning the futures of such men, which the US media had hitherto rarely addressed.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.
Published online: 14 September 2016