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The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)

Approved | | Horror, Mystery | 8 February 1947 (USA)
In a turn-of-the-century Renaissance Italian mansion, its tyrannical owner, a one-handed, wheelchair-bound pianist, with a strong belief in the occult, is murdered.



(screen play), (from a story by)

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Complete credited cast:
David Hoffman ...
Barbara Brown ...
Mrs. Miller
Clara (as Patricia White)
William Edmunds ...
Mr. Miller


Locals in an Italian village believe evil has taken over the estate of a recently deceased pianist where several murders have taken place. The alleged killer: the pianist's severed hand. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It walks like a spider... it stalks like a cobra! See more »


Horror | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 February 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La bête aux cinq doigts  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Curt Siodmak in "Screenwriter: Words Become Pictures", he originally wrote the story for Warner Brothers leading man 'Paul Henried (I)' (qav). The actor decline,d saying, "I'm not wild to play against a dead hand." The writer believed that it would have been more effective with a good-looking man like Henried instead of 'Peter Lorre', whom the audience would automatically think was crazy. See more »


Conrad proposes to Julie that the two of them leave Italy without the Commissario's knowledge. He should know this is impossible, as he saw the Commissario confiscate Julie's passport sometime earlier. See more »


Francis Ingram: Hilary, do you know why you are here?
Hilary Cummins: No, I don't . Some anniversary perhaps?
Francis Ingram: No, no such thing. I merely want your testimony... that I am not insane. It's very important to me to be certain that not one of you thinks I am of unsound mind. Bruce, you are an artist, a musician, You've been with me a long time. You've been with me constantly; therefore you are in a position to speak. Are you convinced that there is nothing wrong with... with my mental balance?
Conrad Ryler: Your mental balance is equal to mine...
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Chaconne in D minor BMW 1004
Composed bt Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged for the left hand by Johannes Brahms
Pianist Ervin Nyiregyhazi
("Played on the screen by Victor Francen)
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderfully Suspenseful
7 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

This movie has you on the edge of your seat. Its atmospheric direction is brilliant.

The cast, too, is excellent: Andrea King, a damsel in distress but a little icy and with kind of an edge (and a hairstyle resembling a headdress0; Robert Alda as the wry romantic lead figure. And of course, Peter Lorre -- neurotic as ever (in roles he was cast in.)

It's scary and has superb music and gorgeous photography.

It does have two flaws: the illogical central conceit of a disembodied hand and the obvious casting of Lorre. Yes, he is excellent, but wouldn't it be nice to see him the hero occasionally, instead of the delusional, pathetic villain?

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