Thriller (1960–1962)
6 user 3 critic

Portrait Without a Face 

Six months after an artist is mysteriously murdered, a blank canvas in his studio begins filling itself in, portraying the crime and building up to the revelation of the killer's identity.


John Newland


Jason Wingreen


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Episode cast overview:
Boris Karloff ... Himself
Jane Greer ... Ann Moffat
Robert Webber ... Arthur Henshaw
Katherine Squire Katherine Squire ... Agatha Moffat
George Mitchell ... Sheriff Pete Browning
Brian Gaffikin Brian Gaffikin ... Nat Fairchild
John Banner ... Prof. Martin Vander Hoven
Gage Clarke ... Dr. Josiah Grant
Alberta Nelson Alberta Nelson ... Marie Browning


Six months after an artist is mysteriously murdered, a blank canvas in his studio begins filling itself in, portraying the crime and building up to the revelation of the killer's identity.

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Release Date:

25 December 1961 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is one of four episodes directed by John Newland, who also makes an uncredited cameo as the artist Robertson Moffat. This episode aired on 25 December 1961, exactly two weeks after Thriller: The Return of Andrew Bentley (1961). which he both directed and starred in. See more »

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User Reviews

Instead of killing the artist, I wish someone had killed the housekeeper!!
27 October 2018 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I have seen every single episode of "Thriller" save one....and that one ("The Last of the Sommervilles") is only available on the DVD set...and I'll be getting to that one very soon. But I can pretty safely say that "Portrait Without a Face" has a distinction....the single worst performance of any actor in any episode. The character 'Agatha' (Katherine Squire) is simply horrid...cackling like a derranged witch who is on crack!! Nearly every scene that she's in, she's screaming/cackling insanely...and I have no idea why she played it that way or why the director allowed her to do it. It nearly ruined the was THAT bad!

A famous painter is murdered brutally--with a crossbow bolt in the eye! Who did this is unknown and appears to be something they'll never know. However, when an expert from an auction house comes to examine and catalog the collection of paintings the artist left behind, something super-weird happens. There is a nearly blank canvas...the same one the artist was working on when he was killed...and it shows his death! Now, only a small portion of the painting has been done...but over time, when no one is looking, the painting continues to fill itself in and promises to eventually show the murderer as well! How could this be??

For the most part, this is a non-supernatural episode posing as one. And, since it's more a murder mystery (like the earliest and worst episodes), I found the conclusion very well as that god-awful cackling!! Because of these factors, I am rating this one only a 4. It could EASILY have been a 7 or 8 or 9...if the script didn't wimp out and if they'd just killed the housekeeper instead!!

By the way, I am not the only one who hated Agatha...a couple other reviewers found her performance hellishly bad as well.

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