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The Hands of Orlac (1924)

Orlacs Hände (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Horror, Mystery | 4 June 1928 (USA)
A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he doesn't know they once belonged to a murderer.

Director:

Robert Wiene

Writers:

Louis Nerz, Maurice Renard (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Conrad Veidt ... Paul Orlac (as Veidt)
Alexandra Sorina Alexandra Sorina ... Yvonne Orlac (as Sorina)
Fritz Strassny Fritz Strassny ... Der alle Orlac (as Strassny)
Paul Askonas Paul Askonas ... Der Diener (as Askonas)
Carmen Cartellieri Carmen Cartellieri ... Regine (as Cartellieri)
Hans Homma Hans Homma ... Dr. Serral (as Homma)
Fritz Kortner ... Nera (as Kortner)
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Storyline

Orlac is a world famous pianist. One day he is badly hurt in a big train wreck. He is in danger of losing both his hands so his wife begs the doctors to save them. They eventually manage to transplant his hands with those of another deceased person. After his recovery Orlac discovers that there is something seriously wrong with his new pair of hands -- it is as if they had a will of their own. But Orlac doesn't know that they actually belonged to a dangerous murderer. Written by Aljaz Ciber, Slovenia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Austria | Germany

Release Date:

4 June 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hands of Orlac See more »

Filming Locations:

Listo-Atelier, Vienna, Austria

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored DVD) | (2013 restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Assuming its copyright has not lapsed already, this film and all others produced in 1924 enters the U.S. public domain in 2020. See more »

Goofs

When Orlac reads a newspaper, the headlines are in German but the body in French. See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, all cast members are billed by their last names only. See more »

Connections

Edited into The History of the Hands (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Decent silent horror melodrama with a tour de force performance from Conrad Veidt.
26 September 2008 | by capkronosSee all my reviews

Interesting and well made German silent version of Maurice Renard's novel "Les Mains d'Orlac" from the same folks behind the highly regarded expressionist classic THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920). Conrad Veidt gives an outstanding, creepy and memorable dramatic performance as the tormented Orlac, a famous pianist whose hands are replaced by those of an executed thief and murderer after a train accident. He soon begins to think he's not only received a maniac's hands, but also his desire to commit crimes. The cavernous and sparsely decorated interiors as well as the typically exaggerated performances often give this the feel of a theatrical production, and while the movie is a little overlong and slow-going (definitely requires a more patient type of viewer to appreciate it), it's still worthwhile for Veidt's amazing performance, some nice visuals and a surprise twist ending. I also need to point out that the Kino DVD of the film runs 110 minutes, though it is listed here as running just 98. Bonus features on the disc include scene comparisons of domestic and international cuts, excerpts of Renard's Novel, an essay by author John Soister, a trailer and an image gallery.

The same tale would later be the basis for 1935's MAD LOVE (starring the inimitable Peter Lorre) and 1960's THE HANDS OF ORLAC (starring Mel Ferrer, and also with supporting turns from Christopher Lee and Donald Pleasence), as well as the uncredited basis for 1962's HANDS OF A STRANGER and several other films.


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