Unrated, 1941, B&W, 105 minutes, MGM Home Video, $29.95.
There are better Joan Crawford vehicles, but there are few stranger. In this, Crawford plays an embittered woman with a hideous, deforming scar on her cheek (from a burn received as a child) who is on trial for her lover's murder. At the beginning of the film, she's a blackmailer and a petty crook, operating with the help of a small gang, until her lover (Conrad Veidt) involves her in a scheme to murder a small boy. For most of the film she goes around avoiding mirrors, and some of the hats she wears to obscure her deformity -- which looks a little like a slice of salami stuck on her cheek -- are a riot. This one clocks way up there on the sadomasochism meter, and it has a perfect ending -- Joan Crawford gets to marry her plastic surgeon (Melvyn Douglas. Donald Ogden Stewart wrote the script, based on an earlier Swedish film, and George Cukor directed, but he doesn't have quite the right temperament for this kind of nutsy melodrama; he's too stodgy and formal, though he stages a dandy sleigh chase at the end of the film.