AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
The Mask of Diijon
Alternate Title: The Mask of D'jon
Director: Lew Landers (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Mar 1946
Production Date:   early Nov 1945
Duration (in mins):   70-73
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Erich von Stroheim (Diijon)  
    Jeanne Bates (Victoria)  
    William Wright (Tony Holiday)  
    Denise Vernac (Denise)  
    Edward Van Sloan (Sheffield)  
    Hope Landin (Mrs. McGaffey)  
    Mauritz Hugo (Danton)  
    Shimen Ruskin (Guzzo)  
    Antonio Filauri (Alex)  
    Robert Malcolm (Fleming)  
    Roy Darmour (Mark Lindsay)  

Summary: Retired magician Diijon is disgusted when his wife Victoria works out a magic trick involving a guillotine with Sheffield, the owner of a magic shop. Despite the fact that he and Vicky have no money, Diijon prefers to devote himself to developing the powers of his mind and declares himself finished with simple trickery. When Vicky's old friend, musician Tony Holiday, arrives at Mrs. McGaffey's boarding house, where Diijon and Vicky also live, he is worried by Diijon's treatment of Vicky. Diijon's refusal to work drives Vicky to look for a job and when her search is unsuccessful, Tony offers to get Diijon a job performing in the same café where he and his friend Guzzo play in a gypsy band. Vicky begs Diijon to take the job and surprisingly, he agrees. In the opening of the act, Diijon hypnotizes Vicky, but when the trick fails, he accuses Tony of engineering the failure to make him look like a fool in front of Vicky. Tony blames the trick's failure on Diijon's recent lack of practice. After walking the streets for hours, Diijon goes into a diner for a cup of coffee. While he is there, a man tries to rob the café, but Diijon is able to hypnotize the man with the aid of a cigarette lighter and prevent the robbery. He practices the same technique on a newsboy with similar success. Delighted by his newly perfected ability, Diijon returns home to find Vicky and Tony breakfasting together. He assumes they are having an affair, which so angers Vicky that she leaves the marriage. Consumed with jealousy, Diijon then thinks about using his hypnotic powers to commit a murder. He practices first on Danton, the partner and husband of dancer Denise. Diijon orders the hypnotized Danton to write a suicide note and then drown himself. In the meantime, Vicky has taken a job singing with Tony's band. Diijon sneaks into Sheffield's store and loads a trick gun with real bullets. He then pays a surprise visit to Vicky's apartment and hypnotizes her. He instructs her to take the loaded gun from Sheffield's store and kill Tony after she performs her first number. Vicky does as Diijon orders, but accidentally takes the wrong gun, which is loaded with blanks. Realizing that Diijon is behind the incident, Tony calls the police, who trap Diijon at Sheffield's. A shootout ensues, and, in trying to escape, Diijon falls against the trick guillotine and is killed. 

Production Company: PRC Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: An Alexander--Stern Production
Distribution Company: Producers Releasing Corp. (Pathé Industries, Inc.)
Director: Lew Landers (Dir)
  Lou Perlof (Asst dir)
Producer: Max Alexander (Prod)
  Alfred Stern (Prod)
Writer: Arthur St. Claire (Scr)
  Griffin Jay (Scr)
  Arthur St. Claire (Orig story)
Photography: Jack Greenhalgh (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Edward Jewell (Art dir)
Film Editor: Roy Livingston (Film ed)
Set Decoration: E. H. Reif (Set dec)
  Gene Stone (Master of props)
Costumes: Karlice (Cost)
Music: Karl Hajos (Mus dir)
Sound: Ben Winkler (Sd eng)
Special Effects: Ray Mercer (Spec eff)
Country: United States

Songs: "White Rose," words and music by Carroll K. Cooper and Lee Zahler; "Disillusion," words and music by Lou E. Zoeller and Billy Austin.
Composer: Billy Austin
  Carroll K. Cooper
  Lee Zahler
  Lou E. Zoeller

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Pathé Industries, Inc. 1/3/1946 dd/mm/yyyy LP130

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

Genre: Melodrama
Subjects (Major): Hypnotism
Subjects (Minor): False accusations
  Tear gas

Note: The film's working title was The Mask of D'jon . Actor Antonio Filauri's name was misspelled on the opening credits as "Filauiri." 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   9 Feb 1946.   
Daily Variety   25 Jan 46   p. 3.
Film Daily   4 Feb 46   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Nov 45   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Nov 45   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jan 46   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   5 Jan 46   p. 2792.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   2 Feb 46   pp. 2829-30.
Variety   30 Jan 46   p. 12.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.