The Beast With Five Fingers (1946)

Article #321 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 1-30-2002
Posting date: 6-16-2002

A pianist with only one good hand suffers a fatal accident shortly after writing a last will and testament. When the will is contested, the lawyer in charge dies, and the culprit is believed to be the crawling hand of the dead man.

The story is somewhat uneven, and J. Carrol Naish is stuck in a role that is a little embarassing at times, but this is one of my favorite horror movies of the forties. This is one movie where it really doesn’t matter whether the fantastic elements are faked or not, as before it’s all over, we are treated to one of my all time favorite sequences in horror movies; Peter Lorre’s struggle with the crawling hand. We are treated to such bizarre, surreal sequences as watching the hand play the piano, and seeing it nailed to a stand; these sequences are powerful and stunning, and have always made up for me for the weaknesses that pop up now and then. Rumors have been passed around that Luis Bunuel was involved in some of these sequences, but I haven’t heard a confirmation one way or the other. At any rate, this one is a favorite.


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