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>
A torn poster of this movie, with its Spanish translation "Las manos de Orlac", appears in Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, as a symbol for the intricate novel's plot that subsumes as dissension between mind and body of its anti-hero protagonist. 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 »
There's blood on your cheek, Galatea. So it seems that wax can bleed. Galatea! I am Pygmalion! You were wax but you came to life in my arms!
Let me go, Gogol! Please!
You speak! You speak to me! My love has made you live! Galatea, give me your lips!
Let me go! Let me go!
Why are you afraid of me? I love you! I love you! You came to life for me! Don't you know me, Galatea?
Yes. Yes, I am Galatea. But let me go now, please! I promise to come back!
You are lying. You wouldn't come back. You hate ...
[...] See more »
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 »
This film is brilliant in every way. The sets are very expressionistic and therefore very cinematic. We see things according to a certain eye, and in this case the eye is demented.
And the narrative. This is the most interesting work I've seen dealing with the two poles of humanity: the neurotic vs. the psychotic, or in general terms, the scientific vs. the creative / the bound vs. the free.
Here we have the mad doctor (neurotic) vs. the virtuoso pianist (psychotic).
The figurative psychosis of the pianist is fully brought to light by the meddlings of the neurotic, who attaches to him the hands of a literal psychotic. And this drives all else.
Oh, the irony. Here we have the doctor (who is bound to his neurosis/science) enslaving the pianist (the free/creative archetype). The bound is binding the free.
Watch for the Chopin. It's a cryptic reference, but just as we cut away from the radio broadcast concert, it is announced that the pianist will play a Chopin number: Waltz No. 11 in G-flat Major, I think. Of course, Chopin is the universal symbol of the psychotic, that is the psychotic (creative) pole of humanity. This underscores what the pianist represents for us. Always watch for Chopin references.
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