MAD LOVE
1935, Warner Bros., 68 min, USA, Dir: Karl Freund

“Dead hands that live ... and love ... and kill!” It's macabre shenanigans involving amputated hands as Grand Guignol theater star Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake) goes to brilliant - but crazy - surgeon Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre) as a last resort when her concert pianist husband, Stephen (Colin Clive, of FRANKENSTEIN), has his hands mangled in a train accident. Gogol, insanely in love with Yvonne and willing to do anything to steal her away, transplants the hands of a guillotined murderer onto the comatose Stephen. Counting on the highly suggestive nature of the neurotic pianist, Gogol makes him believe he also possesses the dead killer’s personality. An intense, delirious adaptation of French writer Maurice Renard’s oft-filmed novel The Hands of Orlac.


THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS
1946, Warner Bros., 88 min, USA, Dir: Robert Florey

Volatile (and dead) concert pianist Francis Ingram (Victor Francen) has left his Italian estate to his American nurse (Andrea King), much to the chagrin of an avaricious brother and nephew. Peter Lorre is the dead musician’s astrology-obsessed, mentally unbalanced librarian who becomes convinced that his late employer’s left hand - now missing from the corpse - is creeping about the villa, bent on murdering all those who oppose Ingram’s last testament. The rest of the household, including King’s paramour Robert Alda and police commissioner J. Carrol Naish, soon become convinced he may be right. The over-the-top Max Steiner score ably punctuates the deranged proceedings.


THE CHASE
1946, 86 min, USA, Dir: Arthur Ripley

Scripted by Philip Yordan, from the novel The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich. In this hallucinatory adaptation, Robert Cummings plays a drifter hired as a chauffeur by two Florida crooks (Steve Cochran and Peter Lorre). He falls for Cochran’s dishy wife (Michelle Morgan) with dire, unpredictable results. As close to Lynch-ian as movies got in the 1940s.


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