An insane surgeon's obsession with an actress leads him to replace her husband's hands with the hands of a knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

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(from the novel: "Les Mains D'Orlac"), (translation and adaptation: novel "The Hands of Orlac") | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Frances Drake ...
...
Ted Healy ...
Sara Haden ...
Marie (as Sarah Haden)
Edward Brophy ...
Rollo
Henry Kolker ...
Prefect Rosset
...
Dr. Wong
May Beatty ...
Françoise
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Davis ...
Chauffeur (scenes deleted)
...
Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)
Harold Huber ...
Thief (scenes deleted)
...
Marianne (scenes deleted)
Leo White ...
Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

In Paris, the great surgeon Dr. Gogol falls madly in love with stage actress Yvonne Orlac, and his ardor disturbs her quite a bit when he discovers to his horror that she is married to concert pianist Stephen Orlac. Shortly thereafter, Stephen's hands are badly crushed in a train accident- beyond the power of standard medicine. Knowing that his hands are his life, Yvonne overcomes her fear and goes to Dr. Gogol, to beg him to help. Gogol decides to surgically graft the hands of executed murderer Rollo onto Stephen Orlac, the surgery is successful but has terrible side-effects... Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His love was pitiful...hopeless...madness...yet "The Thing" tired of pity - and demanded love! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Mad Doctor of Paris  »

Box Office

Budget:

$257,502 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ian Wolfe, who played Stephen Orlac's stepfather Henry, was 38 during filming, only four years older than Colin Clive, 34, who played his stepson. See more »

Goofs

When Rollo goes to the guillotine, the device is shown against the sky. The "sky" has seams in it, revealing it to be a backdrop. See more »

Quotes

Rollo the Knife Thrower: [seeing the guillotine] Boy! Ain't that somethin'?
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the opening credits, the titles are painted on a glass window pane, which is broken when a fist punches through it. See more »

Connections

Featured in Monster Mania (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Phantasie Impromptu
(1834) (uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Killing hands
30 October 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This is a forgotten film one doesn't see too often. TCM showed it recently as part of their Halloween programming and frankly, it shows clearly how Karl Freund was ahead of his times. Mr. Freund had a long career as a cinematographer; it helps he had an eye for atmosphere and detail, as proved in this film.

The sets and costumes reflect the genius of the team behind the camera, led by Karl Freund. The black and white photography greatly enhances the film. There's a scene at the beginning of the movie where one can see Dr. Gogol, played with immense panache by Peter Lorre, seated in one of the boxes in the theatre. We only see half of his face, because the other half hidden in shadows. We get a sense of evil with only a minimal of lighting and gesture in the sinister figure of Dr. Gogol.

The movie is a mystery suspense, not to be classified as a horror film because the gory details are kept at a minimum, but at the same time, we are shown brilliant frightening moments throughout the picture.

Peter Lorre shines in this film; he carries the movie. Mr. Lorre had excellent parts in other films that followed, but in this film, as well as in "M" he showed a talent and an understanding about the person he is supposed to be. In a way, not having the good looks to be cast in other roles, he became a secondary character actor in the succeeding years.

Frances Drake, as Yvonne Orlac, is awfully good. She's the object of Gogol's affections, but she loves the man that is transformed by the doctor, after a tragic accident. Colin Clive as Stephen Orlac, is quite effective as the pianist who knows a lot about knives. Ted Healy makes a funny appearance as Regan, the reporter in search of sensationalism. Sara Haden, as Marie, Dr Gogol's maid, is excellent as the maid from hell.

Of course, the movie is perhaps Karl Freund's best because in 69 minutes he achieves to do a movie that is fascinating to watch because of the superb acting of Mr. Lorre.


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