Monday, August 3, 2009

The Hands of Orlac (1924) aka Orlacs Hände aka Die unheimlichen Hände des Doktor Orlac

4 / 5 Aug '09
Tagline: N/A
Directed by: Robert Wiene
Written by: Louis Nerz, Maurice Renard
Actors include: Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Kortner
Genre: Horror, Crime
Length: 110 minutes
Banned: Nope
Country: Germany/Austria

So this is where the filming of this tale began, although I'd fallen for the 1935 adaptation Mad Love I'd never really gone back and watched the original. This is a German expressionist film and it's very slow and plodding but the atmosphere is brilliant and the acting, is over the top but that was the style at the time I gather. The story is about a pianist named Orlac, he's married to a rather ordinary Woman and his life is pretty decent, until he gets into a massive train accident. His hands are horribly damaged and his Wife pleads for them to save his hands despite the fact that it seems unlikely. A while goes by and suddenly Orlac has a wonderfully perfect looking set of hands, only they are the hands of a presumed murderer! There is much struggle with Orlac's character as he feels the hands driving him to commit horrible crimes, and although he has no memory of it people are turning up dead in the style of the murderer who's hands he has. It has several twists and turns that are often clever and often surprising, the story varies quite a bit from Mad Love as it goes on. It's not a bad thing, it just means both films have their style and their nuances, both I truly enjoyed. I wish this could have been a little more compact as it felt in places that they could have told me what was going on in half the time, but I guess then maybe the atmosphere would suffer? At any rate, I'm really glad I saw this, it's eerie no doubt and the story is wonderful, just be prepared to use some patience.

Availability:  On DVD

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