The Hands of Orlac

Director: Robert Wiene
Year Released: 1924
Rating: 2.0

Gifted pianist Orlac (Conrad Veidt) gets injured in a train accident and loses his hands, only to have them replaced ... with the hands of an executed murderer! Pulpy, gimmicky concept is overly embellished by both Veidt (such continuous anguish!) and Wiene, whose navel-picking approach to the subject negates the blacker-than-black mood and makes it all needlessly blasé. It isn't really until the third act, with so many bizarre 'twists' (complete with accusations of patricide and blackmailing) that it gains any amount of zip. Call me practical, but Orlac should have put in a request to have those murderous hands replaced with less-murderous ones - I'm positive a bored grave robber could have tracked down the resting spots of Wagner or Brahms and, you know, done a little digging....