IMDb > The Beast with Five Fingers (1946)
The Beast with Five Fingers
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The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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The Beast with Five Fingers -- 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.


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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Curt Siodmak (screen play)
William Fryer Harvey (from a story by)
View company contact information for The Beast with Five Fingers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 February 1947 (USA) See more »
A Sensation of Screaming Suspense! See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Worthwhile (6.0-7.0/10.0) See more (51 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Robert Alda ... Conrad Ryler

Andrea King ... Julie Holden

Peter Lorre ... Hilary Cummins
Victor Francen ... Francis Ingram

J. Carrol Naish ... Ovidio Castanio
Charles Dingle ... Raymond Arlington

John Alvin ... Donald Arlington
David Hoffman ... Duprex
Barbara Brown ... Mrs. Miller

Patricia Barry ... Clara (as Patricia White)
William Edmunds ... Antonio
Belle Mitchell ... Giovanna
Ray Walker ... Mr. Miller
Pedro de Cordoba ... Horatio
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Symona Boniface ... Mourner (uncredited)

Gino Corrado ... Carabinieri (uncredited)

Franco Corsaro ... Carabinieri (uncredited)
Antonio Filauri ... Bus Driver (uncredited)
Joseph Marievsky ... Carabinieri (uncredited)
Edna Morris ... Mourner (uncredited)
Count Stefenelli ... Giuseppi (uncredited)
Ellinor Vanderveer ... Mourner (uncredited)
Catherine Wallace ... Mourner (uncredited)
Lottie Williams ... Tourist (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Florey 
Writing credits
Curt Siodmak (screen play)

William Fryer Harvey (from a story by)

Harold Goldman  additional dialogue (uncredited)

Produced by
William Jacobs .... producer
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
Cinematography by
Wesley Anderson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Frank Magee 
Art Direction by
Stanley Fleischer 
Bertram Tuttle (supervising art director) (uncredited)
Set Decoration by
Walter F. Tilford  (as Walter Tilford)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Della Barnes .... hair stylist (uncredited)
George Bau .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Chuck Hansen .... unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur Lueker .... assistant director (as Art Lueker)
John Prettyman .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Lucien Hafley .... props (uncredited)
Sound Department
Oliver S. Garretson .... sound
Gerald W. Alexander .... re-recording and effects mixer (uncredited)
Charles David Forrest .... sound (uncredited)
Robert G. Wayne .... re-recording and effects mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Hans F. Koenekamp .... special effects (as H. Koenekamp)
William C. McGann .... special effects director (as William McGann)
Visual Effects by
Russell Collings .... special optical effects (uncredited)
Paul Detlefsen .... matte paintings (uncredited)
Mario Larrinaga .... matte paintings (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Lester H. Blackburn .... gaffer (uncredited)
David Dans .... assistant camera (uncredited)
E.F. Dexter .... grip (uncredited)
Frank Evans .... second camera (uncredited)
Mac Julian .... still photographer (uncredited)
Joe O'Connell .... best boy (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Travilla .... wardrobe
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Mina Willowbird .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestral arrangements by
Other crew
Jack Daniels .... dialogue director
Dario Sabatello .... technical advisor
Meta Rebner .... script clerk (uncredited)
Jonah Ruddy .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Australia:PG | Finland:(Banned) (1947) | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1950) | UK:15 | USA:Approved (PCA #11334, General Audience)

Did You Know?

Luis Buñuel wrote in his autobiography ("My Last Sigh"), he was employed by Warner Bros. and submitted a story idea for a horror movie about a disembodied hand.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: When Julie is opening the door for Conrad when he first visit Mr Ingram, you can see the shadow of the camera following her to the door and back to Mr Ingram.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, and while I consider that a tribute to your sanity, there are certain people in San Stefano who consider me... slightly eccentric. Perhaps they're right.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in One Dark Night (1982)See more »
Chaconne in D minor BMW 1004See more »


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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Worthwhile (6.0-7.0/10.0), 18 April 2001
Author: jplenton from cardiff, wales

The Beast With Five Fingers predates any other ‘disembodied' hand film I've seen by a good twenty years. Such films include Dr. Terror's House Of Horror, The Hand, Evil Dead II, Severed Ties, and the two Addam's Family films and television series. This selection illustrates the gamut of horror film quality, from the delightful Evil Dead II to the atrocious Severed Ties. Happily, their precursor, The Beast With Five Fingers is ‘hands down' one of the better entries in this sub-genre.

The Beast… is set in an Italian village, home of the successful pianist, Francis Ingram, who resides in a sumptuous villa. Ingram is wheelchair bound as his entire right side is paralysed, and is forced to play piano using his single left hand. His style is suitably heavy and melancholic. He is a haunted figure, heavily reliant on his young nurse to the point of obsession, and fixated on his own death. Therefore, he summons his companions to dinner to witness the signing of his will. Amongst them is his personal secretary Hilary (Peter Lorre), a man with his own obsessions; astrology and the occult. It is not long before the Grim Reaper arrives as a belated dinner guest.

The film's most prominent actor is Peter Lorre. Lorre's career in horror fare has seen a slight regression over the years, though not as profound as some of his contemporaries such as Bela Lugosi and John Carradine. In the Thirties, Lorre starred in Fritz Lang's classic M and the rather good Mad Love. However, by the Sixties he was resigned to playing second fiddle to Vincent Price in horror-comedies The Comedy Of Terrors and The Raven. These two films are reasonable enough but eclipsed by his formative work. The Beast… makes a fitting mid-point between these two eras.

Lorre is an engaging actor, his childlike physique and strange manner always invoke some degree of viewer sympathy no matter how heinous his crimes (cf. M). J. Carrol Naish who plays the affable police inspector (yep, never heard of him before) is also notable but his more comedic moments do lessen the film's impact.

The special effects used to animate the hand are impressive for their time, although as the film is in b&w this helps mask its inadequacies somewhat. The rubber hand in Dr. Terror's House Of Horror is pitiable in comparison, and that was made twenty odd years later. The interplay between Lorre and the hand as he alternatively soothes and struggles with it are reminiscent of Ash's plight in Evil Dead II.


The majority of the players seem primarily motivated by avarice. It is somewhat surprising then that the final bodycount is so low. A modern horror would have casually knocked off such ‘sinners' with glee. Perhaps, this highlights a rift between ‘vintage' and modern horror. The vintage film has a more human approach to its characters, although they do suffer in terms of danger and scares, they do not die. The usual modern approach is to emphasise the killings, the characters are just fodder for the killer's and the audience's whimsy. Of course this reasoning parallels the change in audience expectation and tolerance with time, and also what the changes the filmmakers could get away with in terms of censorship and ‘decency'.

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