Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan. They have to get there fast, as the evil genius Dr. Fu Manchu is also searching, and if he gets the mysteriously powerful relics, he and ... See full summary »
A physician on death row for a mercy killing is allowed to experiment on a serum using a criminals' blood, but secretly tests it on himself. He gets a pardon, but finds out he's become a Jekyll-&-Hyde.
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 <email@example.com>
Peter Lorre was under contract to Columbia Pictures. He agreed to be loaned out to MGM for this film if Columbia would do a film version of Crime and Punishment (1935) with him in the role of Raskolnikov. See more »
The wax statue of "Yvonne" is shown with arms straight down through the film, but toward the end, when there is a shot of the real Yvonne facing the wax statue, the statue has it's left arm bent, with hand on hip. See more »
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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