Mad Love (1935)

MAD LOVE (1935)
Article #238 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-9-2001
Posting date: 3-25-2002

When a pianist has his hands crushed in a train accident, the surgeon (who loves the man’s wife) grafts the hands of a murderous knife-thrower in place of those of the pianist.

The second adaptation of the “Hands of Orlac” story has a lousy title; it sounds like a musical comedy. It does, however, have an excellent performance from Peter Lorre and good ones from Colin Clive and Ted Healy. I really like Freund’s direction here; it’s a shame it was his last movie in that capacity. I also really like the script, especially the way it sets up Orlac’s discovery of whose hands he possesses. (“This happens to be my pen, gentlemen.”) I’m afraid I don’t care for the hysterical performance of Frances Drake, but the movie also features Billy Gilbert (as the guy who tries to get Rollo’s autograph), a wonderful scene in which the murderer spends his last few moments pondering Hoover Dam (the movie has a few scenes like this), and a reference to THE MUMMY (“It went out for a little walk.”). I like this movie more each time I see it.

1 Comment

  1. I agree: Frances Drake was “hysterical” and also annoying in a number of scenes. Not the best female lead. I think the proper term is over-acting:

    Peter Lorre’s performance is what makes this film great.

    Mad Love is on par with the best 1930s horror films like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man. I also like the title of the film because it suggests an insane form of love.

    I wrote a short essay on the film called “Three Aspects of Obsessive Love.” If you would like to read it, here is the link: I am open to any constructive feedback.

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