The Hands of Orlac (1925)

Article #195 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-27-2001
Posting date: 2-10-2002

When a concert pianist loses his hands in an accident, he has them replaced with the hands of a murderer.

There are several versions of the French novel “Les Mains d’Orlac”, and I would like to read it some day, if for no other reason than to find out which of the movie versions is closest to the source materials. At this time, I suspect it is this one; it’s the only one of the three versions I know in which the pianist is actually the main character; the other versions have a villain of some sort as the primary focus of the story. Orlac is played in this movie by the great Conrad Veidt, who in my mind was one of the best horror actors of the silents; he gives a gripping performance here of a man who is keenly aware that his hands are not his own, and he is a joy to watch.


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