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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A pianist has a transplant operation that gives him a new pair of hands. Unfortunately, the hands belonged to a murderer, and he finds the hands starting to take over his life and commit ... See full summary »

Director: Edmond T. Gréville
Stars: Mel Ferrer, Dany Carrel, Christopher Lee
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Cast

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

Dead hands that live... and love... and kill! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Mad Doctor of Paris  »

Box Office

Budget:

$257,502 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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Goofs

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Quotes

Doctor Gogol: Each man kills the thing he loves.
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 David J. Skal on 'Island of Lost Souls' (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Siegfried Idyll
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Still a "lost" horror film
9 October 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre) is a brilliant surgeon who is obsessed with actress Yvonne Orlac (Francis Drake). She tells him she is leaving the stage to be a full time wife to her husband Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive), a concert pianist. Gogol is crushed. Stephen Orlac loses his hands in a train wreck.

At the request of Yvonne, Orlac grafts on a new pair of hands to Stephen. Unfortunately, they happen to be the hands of Rollo, an executed murderer who loved throwing knives. It seems the hands have a life of their own--Stephen can't play the piano anymore but can throw knives accurately and he has a desire to kill. He slowly starts to go crazy. Gogol again tells Yvonne that he loves her. She rejects him and Gogol cracks. He sets out to drive Stephen mad--and drive Yvonne into his arms.

The plot is silly but it still works. Anyways, the film isn't respected for its plot--it's because of Lorre and the sets. The sets in this film are huge, designed very strangely and add to the weirdness of the plot. They're all dimly lit giving the film a dark, depressing look. The acting is almost all good. Drake is just beautiful and perfect as the suffering wife. Clive is way too serious and looks horrible--sadly the man suffered from alcoholism...and it shows. Lorre is just superb as Gogol. He's very severe looking with his shaved head. You see him start out as kindly but obsessed and slowly slip into madness. Also there's a genuinely terrifying meeting Orlac has with Gogol (disguised as someone else) in a hotel. And director Karl Fruend throws in an amusing in joke--someone's repeats the "It went for a little walk" line from his "The Mummy" (1932)! The only real debit is the unnecessary "comic" relief from Ted Healy and an alcoholic landlady (sorry, but alcoholism isn't funny).

This is still mostly unknown more than 60 years after its release. Why? It bombed badly when it came out, was too grim for most people and it almost never pops up on TV. That's a shame--it's one of the best horror films to come out in the 1930s. See this if you get a chance--it's only 70 minutes and it's well worth it! One of Lorre's best performances.


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