Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original Title: Orlacs Hände
Austria/Germany, 1924. Berolina Film GmbH, Pan Films. Screenplay by Louis Nerz, based on the novel by Maurice Renard. Cinematography by Hans Androschin, Gunther Krampf. Music by Henning Lohner, Paul Mercer. Production Design by Stefan Wessely, Hans Rouc.
Conrad Veidt reunites with his Caligari director Robert Wiene for another ghostly and horrific tale, this time playing a world-famous concert pianist whose hands are destroyed in a train accident. His wife begs the doctors to save his moneymakers, so the mad scientist uses the hands of a recently executed criminal to transplant onto our hero. Unable to get back to work, Veidt instead finds himself drawn to commit crimes, his hands gravitating towards encircling throats and grabbing knives, while his wife suffers their poverty and lowers herself to asking Veidt’s vampiric father for assistance. Long and drawn out, the film once again shows Wienes’ talent for powerful visuals and little else, the story is plodding and the moralism of the conclusion feels like a letdown after what promised to be a delicious voyage into the world of the irredeemably macabre.