IMDb > The Hands of Orlac (1924)

The Hands of Orlac (1924) More at IMDbPro »Orlacs Hände (original title)

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Release Date:
4 June 1928 (USA) See more »
A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he doesn't know they once belonged to a murderer. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(2 articles)
User Reviews:
Decent silent horror melodrama with a tour de force performance from Conrad Veidt. See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order)

Conrad Veidt ... Paul Orlac (as Veidt)
Alexandra Sorina ... Yvonne Orlac (as Sorina)
Fritz Strassny ... Der alle Orlac (as Strassny)
Paul Askonas ... Der Diener (as Askonas)
Carmen Cartellieri ... Regine (as Cartellieri)
Hans Homma ... Dr. Serral (as Homma)
Fritz Kortner ... Nera (as Kortner)

Directed by
Robert Wiene 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Louis Nerz 
Maurice Renard  novel

Original Music by
Henning Lohner (1998)
Paul Mercer (2008 re-release)
Cinematography by
Hans Androschin 
Günther Krampf 
Art Direction by
Stefan Wessely 
Hans Rouc (uncredited)
Production Management
Karl Ehrlich .... production manager
Music Department
Lorne Balfe .... music arranger (new score 1998)

Production CompaniesDistributors
  • Aywon Film (1928) (USA) (theatrical) (as 'The Hands of Orlac')
  • Grapevine Video (2004) (USA) (DVD) (as 'The Hands of Orlac')
  • Emerald (2006) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Kino Video (2007) (USA) (DVD) (as 'The Hands of Orlac'; remistered in HD)
  • Shudder (2015) (USA) (video) (streaming)
  • LS Video (????) (USA) (VHS)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Orlacs Hände" - Austria (original title)
See more »
92 min | Germany:90 min | 113 min (restored DVD version) | 105 min (2013 restored version) (20 fps)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film was released in the United States over three years after its original release in Austria and Germany. An entire reel was edited out of the USA import version of the film, prompting a mixed critical reception in the country.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When Orlac reads a newspaper, the headlines are in German but the body in French.See more »


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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Decent silent horror melodrama with a tour de force performance from Conrad Veidt., 26 September 2008
Author: capkronos ( from Ohio, USA

Interesting and well made German silent version of Maurice Renard's novel "Les Mains d'Orlac" from the same folks behind the highly regarded expressionist classic THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920). Conrad Veidt gives an outstanding, creepy and memorable dramatic performance as the tormented Orlac, a famous pianist whose hands are replaced by those of an executed thief and murderer after a train accident. He soon begins to think he's not only received a maniac's hands, but also his desire to commit crimes. The cavernous and sparsely decorated interiors as well as the typically exaggerated performances often give this the feel of a theatrical production, and while the movie is a little overlong and slow-going (definitely requires a more patient type of viewer to appreciate it), it's still worthwhile for Veidt's amazing performance, some nice visuals and a surprise twist ending. I also need to point out that the Kino DVD of the film runs 110 minutes, though it is listed here as running just 98. Bonus features on the disc include scene comparisons of domestic and international cuts, excerpts of Renard's Novel, an essay by author John Soister, a trailer and an image gallery.

The same tale would later be the basis for 1935's MAD LOVE (starring the inimitable Peter Lorre) and 1960's THE HANDS OF ORLAC (starring Mel Ferrer, and also with supporting turns from Christopher Lee and Donald Pleasence), as well as the uncredited basis for 1962's HANDS OF A STRANGER and several other films.

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