Mad Love - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mad Love Reviews

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December 6, 2012
A perfect little horror film. Lorre's first in the US, and quite a treat to see him with both Clive & Healy.
½ October 12, 2015
It's absurd that this has 100% on rotten tomatoes, but yeah, it's a good movie. I've seen it a handful of times and always enjoy it. Lorre is great. The wax dummy stuff is great. Very enjoyable little film.
½ September 2, 2012
strange but worth a look Lorre is the fuel that makes this 1 go
March 26, 2015
Perhaps more appropriately titled, "The Hands of Orlac", after the French source material, this horror film involves a hand transplant (from knife throwing murderer to concert pianist) where the hands have a will of their own. Peter Lorre, in his first American film, is disturbing as the icky sleazy warped doctor who is infatuated with the actress married to the concert pianist. There are some good creepy moments where Lorre seems to drool over torture scenes in a play starring the actress - what is his infatuation with her? Is it some kind of degraded sexual fetish? Lorre makes you think so. The rest of the film (and even Karl Freund's heralded direction) can't keep up with Lorre's standards.
½ January 7, 2015
Each man kills the things he loves.

A mad scientist falls in love with an actress of a local play. Unfortunately, the actress is married to a traveling musician and intends on leaving the play and town. The pianist is in an unfortunate accident and loses his hands and the only person who can save him is the mad scientist. The scientist gives him hands that work, but they're the hands of a killer. The hands will make him start killing hopefully leading to the pianist getting locked up and the scientist getting the girl...but nothing ever goes as planned for mad scientists!

"I've been meeting you in my dreams all of my life."

Karl Freund, director of The Mummy, Dracula (Bela Lugosi), The Countess of Monte Cristo, Uncertain Lady, Gift of Gab, and I Give My Love, delivers Mad Love. The storyline for this picture is compelling and contains fantastic characters. The villain was depicted perfectly and the script, backdrops, and costumes and make-up were perfect. The cast delivers splendid performances and includes Peter Lorre, Frances Drakes, Colin Clive, Ted Healey, Sara Haden, and Keye Luke.

"I'm afraid we'll have to amputate."

I DVR'd this off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this past holiday season and was excited to watch this Lorre masterpiece. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance and thought he played the villain masterfully. This is a classic gem that belong on TCMs annual rotation and is borderline worth adding to your classic collection if you're a fan of the genre.

"That would probably cause him to...commit murder himself..."

Grade: A-
December 29, 2014
Here's weird little horror movie. Peter Lorre, in his first American film, is a crazy surgeon who sews a knife killer's hands onto the arms of a talented pianist. The catch? Lorre is disturbingly obsessed with the pianist's wife. Complications ensue.
½ October 25, 2013
According to the reviews, this film is some kind of horror classic, but I'm not buyin' it. The story is ridiculous and the cast wisely performs it with campy gusto. I was laughing at the screen and yet I get the feeling that everyone involved was laughing along with me. Still, I wasn't impressed and Lorre would go on to do better things in his American career.
½ February 22, 2009
Mad Love (1935) -- [7.0] -- Peter Lorre stars as a doctor so obsessed with an actress (Frances Drake), that after a train wreck destroys her husband's hands, Lorre offers to perform a transplant. Problem is, the new hands once belonged to a murderer, and old habits die hard... even for disembodied hands. "Mad Love" benefits from Lorre's creepy performance and many exotic settings, including recreations of a famous Guignol playhouse where the ushers are masked monsters and the ticket salesman has no head. The plotting is far more intricate than most other horror films from its time (or beyond its time). For a while, the script feels like its all over the place, but rest assured that all of the disparate elements -- including a wax doppelganger of the actress -- come together in the end. My favorite scene is a clandestine meeting between the actress' husband (Colin Clive from the "Frankenstein" films) and a masked, whispering character who reveals himself to be the previous owner of Clive's murderous hands. Director Karl Freund worked as cinematographer on "Metropolis" and "Dracula" before directing his first American film, "The Mummy" with Boris Karloff. Though he'd continue photographing films and television into the '50s, "Mad Love" would be his last time in the directing chair.
½ July 5, 2007
I don't remember this too well, but I know it was somewhat interesting. And Peter Lorre is always fascinating to watch.
October 26, 2012
Deliciously warped, ridiculous, and grotesque. This remake of The Hands of Orlac has lots of great atmosphere and some great performances, but I must admit, I wanted more Lorre.
May 17, 2012
Peter Lorre's is masterful once again. Love obsessed Dr. Gogol is driven to madness. In his genius he is a wizard of medicine crossing the lines of taboo but yet he is socially inept. His ego cannot be denied and he is determined to conquer love. Great cinematography combined with science fiction issue of transplant surgery make for a great dark story. Lorre is powerful in obsession and madness.
½ March 3, 2012
Full-on weirdness! Evocative cinematography, great production design, and an unhinged, wonderfully-deranged performance by Peter Lorre.
½ June 16, 2011
I was POSITIVE this is the film where the amputated hands of a killer take over their new owner to the point where he strangles the one he loves... not throws knifes. So, I was wrong. Does it matter? Nope, as Peter Lorre is to acting as Heaven is to Christians. The man can go from 0-60rpm in an instant (while at 60rpm he's frightening, but at 0 he's passive and lovable, go figure).

The story is fantastic, however, it's a bit toned down from the novel so as to pass regulations, but it was STILL banned in other countries. Usually, I'm not much for censorship, but I can see why the Hays commission toned Mad Love down a notch as, Lorre is almost the predecessor to Frank in Blue Velvet. He's a tad perverse.

With only one hour's run-time, I can't help but think of what else could have been added to this already solid film to send it over the top. The Greek Pygmalion subtext is stunning, as is Lorre's psychosis and Clive's psychotic streak.

Give it a hook!
½ April 13, 2011
Generally speaking, I am inclined to sympathize with the villain in this sort of tale. A mad man falls in love with a beautiful woman who belongs to another man and does everything in his power to make her his own in his obsessive desires... but Peter Lorre is so fantastically creepy that I have a hard time being truly empathetic for ol' Doc Gogol. Great flick.
½ June 22, 2010
"Each man kills the thing he loves." - Dr. Gogol.

Dr. Gogol is obsessed with an theater actress named Yvonne Orlac. He's seen all of her performances, sends her flowers and even acquires actual wax replica of Yvonne herself. I smell a stalker. After one performance, Dr. Gogol meets with her in her dressing room. He discovers that she's going away with her husband, the famous pianist Stephen Orlac, to live in England. This does not sit well for Gogol, but luckily a series of events unfold that would forever change the lives of Yvonne and Stephen.

Stephen Orlac is on aboard a train heading to Paris to meet with his wife. On board is a killer name Rollo whose method of killing is by throwing knives at his victims. Fate has put these two men together on this train for a reason. A mad reason, but a reason none the less.

As Yvonne waits for her husband tragic news spreads that the train he was on has crashed. He wasn't killed fortunately, but his hands are badly damaged which happens to be his lively hood. Yvonne, even though she isn't fond of the idea since he gives her the creeps, phones for Dr. Gogol to help with the amputation of her husband's hands.

Gogol, however, isn't in at the time. He's spending his time at the guillotine to watch Rollo's beheading. By the time he does get the word, he comes up with a plan. With Rollo dead and Stephen needing a new pair of hands he figures he could attach Rollo's onto Stephen's giving him back his need to play the piano again. Gogol also believes that he could win the heart of Yvonne by doing such a kind deed, but poor Gogol is such a psychopath that it could never work.

Stephen's new hands prove to be poor at playing the piano. Since they're someone else's it would be difficult anyways, but Stephen is good at knife throwing which could be his new calling in life. With these hands, Stephen has a power beyond his control to kill.

Love, for Gogol anyways, is an obsessive thing. He loves Yvonne so much that he's willing to kill her. He's like a rabid dog or Glenn Beck. He just needs to be put down and out of his and other's misery.

This film is based on The Hands of Orlac which was a novel and a silent film that starred Conrad Veidt. I haven't seen that version of it, but I assume there is no Dr. Gogol. Peter Lorre does an astounding job at playing the psycho doctor. You could categorize this film as a deep dark demented comedy due to it's jumbling balance of pathos and dark humor.
January 15, 2011
Lorre's character is easily the most effective of the unsympathetic monsters in '30s horror and this version does a far better job of developing the supporting characters than the original 1924 film did. The only black mark is the ending, which is sudden and uninspired.
½ October 22, 2010
This is Peter Lorre's first Hollywood film and it is a good one with lots of creepy atmosphere and effects. Lorre plays a mad surgeon, Dr. Gogol who becomes obsessed with an actress, Yvonne, who is married to a classical pianist and composer, Stephan.

After a terrible accident, Yvonne's husband Stephan has to have his hand amputated. His career seems like it is over. To avoid amputation, Yvonne takes Stephan to Dr. Gogol and begs him to save her husband's hands. Dr. Gogol has just returned from a beheading of a murderous circus knife thrower and comes up with a plan to graft the murderer's hands onto Stephan.

The operation is a success, but Stephan can't play the piano and he suddenly finds it impossible to stop throwing knives at people. Gogol finds this out and thinks he can take Yvonne away by convincing Stephan that he is a murderer.

I loved the creepy gothic look of this movie and the story, even though absurd, is well-done and at times fun to watch. Lorre was a strange looking man, but an actor that uses that strange look to maximum advantage. Just by gazing at Lorre's face, you can actually see the gears turning inside of his head. He was really extraordinary. This movie is definitely for people who like old black and white movies with great performances. It is a thrilling chiller of a move that is fun to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ October 7, 2010
I usually hate Peter Lorre, but I didn't mind him in this. I found it fairly 'meh' though. For a simple plot and a short film, it took a long time for things to happen.
October 10, 2010
This is a remake of the 1924 Austrian film The Hands of Orlac. This movie is the American film debut of acting great Peter Lorre, and unfortunately the last film directed by Karl Freund (The Golem, Metropolis, and The Mummy). Many film enthusiasts consider this movie to be Freund's Citizen Kane.

This film is more fleshed out than the 1924 original, and features some spectacular performances by Peter Lorre and the beautiful Frances Drake. The film is full of suspense and mystery and delivers some really creepy parts via Lorre's character and his obsession with Ms. Drake's character Yvonne Orlac. He keeps a wax mannequin of her around so that he can comfortably confess his love or whatever.

The film centers around Dr. Gogol (Lorre) who longs for the affections of Yvonne (Drake). Yvonne is married to a composer and pianist named Steven Orlac. At least he was a pianist before being injured in a train wreck where his hands were completely destroyed. Dr. Gogol, at the request of Yvonne, performs a groundbreaking hand transplant surgery on her husband. Unfortunately the hands used during the procedure are that of a killer...and they still want blood.

If you aren't really familiar with older, suspenseful, tasteful, horror films I suggest that you go out and pick up this movie. You will not be disappointed. The sets are fantastic, the acting is superb, the story is fleshed out just enough for you to really be able to sink your teeth into it. This has to be one of the greatest horror films of all time.

This movie is getting the coveted 10 out of 10 rating. This film is perfect. The delivery is up there with any other horror film and it is dark, brooding and just plain creepy. It shows that you don't need gore or great special effects to make an amazing horror movie.

Each man kills the thing he loves

S!D
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