Orlacs Hände (The Hands of Orlac) (1924)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Want to See

Not Interested

Add Rating
My Rating    

Movie Info

In this classic horror film, based on a novel by Maurice Renard and filmed by Robert Wiene (of Dr. Caligari fame), a world-famous pianist burns his hands in an airplane crash. A mysterious doctor offers to do a transplant and the pianist, his career on the verge of ruin, accepts. After a series of mysterious strangulations occur around him, the pianist beings to suspect the culprit might be his new pair of hands. His search for the donor is impeded as his new appendages slowly drive him insane. This film has been remade countless times, the most successful being the 1954 Mad Love version with Peter Lorre in the lead. ~ Brian Whitener, Rovi

Watch it now


Critic Reviews for Orlacs Hände (The Hands of Orlac)

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

Its most enduring quality is Veidt's tormented performance as Orlac.

Oct 17, 2016 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Most of the plot is worked out adroitly, but there is one unnecessary mechanical twist, which is employed detract from part of the horror.

Oct 3, 2016 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

Drab photography and over-footage devoted to long gloomy hallways make for repetition.

Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Conrad Veidt is mesmerising as the concert pianist living on his nerves after his shattered hands are replaced with those of a murderer.

Oct 3, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Classic of German Expressionism

Jul 6, 2011 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

This original version runs a little slowly by modern standards, but it has one of the great performances by the under-appreciated Conrad Veidt.

Sep 28, 2008 | Rating: 7/10

Audience Reviews for Orlacs Hände (The Hands of Orlac)

a lot of fun. veidt's anguished performance here may only be matched by peter lorre's maniacal doctor in the 1935 remake 'mad love'.

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


It's that often told story of a musician who loses his hands and gets a new set transplanted from a murderer. Does the man control the hands, or will the hands lead him on a rampage to express his own guilty desires? This low-budget Austrian production reunites actor Conrad Veidt with director Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Caligari). Although the pacing is a bit off at times, this is a very entertaining late-nighter for those interested in German Expressionism. Photobucket Photobucket

El Hombre Invisible
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

A tasty curiosity for those interested in Chris Kattan's pre-SNL work. Seriously, I was a bit disappointed with this film. Good beginning, good ending, dull middle. The acting is of that outdated school of bulging eyeballs and staggering around at quarter speed to look "tormented," and the slow pace - - even crossing a room sometimes seems to take forever -- really takes a bite out of the story's appeal. And unlike with some similar films of the period, the sets are not eye-catching enough to compensate. I much preferred the Peter Lorre remake, "Mad Love."

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

David Lynch must of gotten a huge amount of inspiration from this film. Director Robert Weine, is a visionary with the camera. You have to respect his experiments with the films of the time. This is one of the most artistic and expressionistic films i have ever seen. It took me a while to watch this film, not because of the movie itself but i kept getting interrupted. I really enjoyed seeing my old friend Conrad Veight (Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) starring in this as Paul Orlac, a pianist who loses his hands in a accident. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite character actors. I definitely want to get into the talkies. The silents are getting tedious, i really want to hear someone talk. But there are saving points for this movie that keep my interest. Like I said above, the art is one of the huge points of interest in this movie. The plot is kinda funny, unfortunately this movie seems more like a crime drama then a Horror movie. It still has creepiness hanging around on the set though. Paul Orlac loses his hands and goes through a experimental procedure to get new hands grafted on his stumps. Bad for Orlac though, as the hands that he has grafted on are those of murderer. He begins to go insane as he is accused of various murders through out the film. Based on the book Les mains d'orlac by Maurice Renard, the film shows a great deal of tension and mystery. So far from the other movies that i watched i would have to say that this is one of my favorites but it doesn't really rank very high on the scareometer. I am going to have to give this silent a 6/10. The movie is about as scary as Eraserhead or Lost Highway. Its more weird then scary. Idle Hands Sid

Brandon Siddall
Brandon Siddall

Super Reviewer

Orlacs Hände (The Hands of Orlac) Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features