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also known as Orlacs Hande

The Hands of Orlac1924

  • 4.3
Reuniting the star and director of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, THE HANDS OF ORLAC is a deliciously twisted thriller that blends grand guignol thrills with the visual and performance styles of German Expressionism. Based on a novel by medical-horror novelist Maurice Renard, it charts the mental disintegration of a concert pianist (Conrad Veidt) whose hands are amputated after a train crash and replaced with the hands of an executed murderer. When Orlac's father is murdered by the dead man's hands, Orlac begins to steadily descend toward madness. Produced in Vienna, the hotbed of psychoanalysis, THE HANDS OF ORLAC is writhing with sexual innuendo and Freudian imagery.

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1 member likes this review

Haven't finished watching this but if The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with practically the same cast and crew s a 5 star film (well actually on this scale its a 10 star), the Orlac is a definite 4. The train scenes are classic examples of German Expressionist lighting!

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Haven't finished watching this but if The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with practically the same cast and crew s a 5 star film (well actually on this scale its a 10 star), the Orlac is a definite 4. The train scenes are classic examples of German Expressionist lighting!

1 member likes this review
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“Women fight for Conrad Veidt!” That was a tag used to promote a British film starring Veidt in the early 1930’s. The man best known for villainous roles—the proto-Gothic Cesare in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, and the venomous Major Stasser in “Casablanca”—was also a distinctive leading man in many European films of the 20’s and 30’s. One of the highlights of “The Hands of Orlac” is Veidt’s performance. He radiates a unique screen charisma and sensuality…a sort of Valentino for the Bohemian set. He’s the perfect leading man in this wonderfully dark and expressionistic tale of murder and passion. Though not as well-known as “Caligari,” “The Hands of Orlac” is a creepy, yet captivating example of German Expressionism in the 1920’s.

The problem with Orlac’s hands is that they are not his hands. The great pianist loses his hands in a train crash. When his surgeon is implored by Mrs. Orlac to save her husband’s hands, he thinks of the corpse of the executed criminal which is just now being brought into his clinic and decides to attempt a transplant. The operation is a success in a physiological sense, but not in a psychological one. Poor Orlac is told by an anonymous note that he has the hands of a murderer. His mind tries to reject the hands his body is accepting, but the hands seem to have a life of their own. Or so it seems until the really annoying logical explanation, which makes possible the happy ending.

Robert Wiene directed and Conrad Veidt starred in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” Having made the most expressionist of German expressionist silent movies, they reunited for this. Wiene didn’t set this film inside a madman’s head but he was still determined to reveal the inside of a troubled mind. He had his actors give performances with very exaggerated facial expressions and very choreographed physical movement. Veidt grimaces, writhes, twitches, shrinks, lurks, dances almost, as he struggles with the forces acting on him from outside and inside. Alexandra Sorina, who plays his wife, almost over does it, if indeed that is possible in a film like this. All of the actors behave as in a fever dream until that ending I spoke about, when, as the top cop begins to expose the dastardly scheme of the villain, everyone seems to come down to earth.

I didn’t always pay it the attention it deserved. I took too much time to adjust to the style of acting. Once I corrected my mind, I got gripped.

I’ve seen the sound era remake, “Mad Love” (1934), directed by Karl Freund, starring Colin (It’s alive! It’s alive) Clive and the great Peter Lorre at his maddest. I think I have it on tape; maybe I will pull it out.

I don't watch Silent films.............

i love old movies the old clothes and action