Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mad Love (1935)

Starring Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive, Ted Healy, Sara Haden
Directed by Karl Freund
(actor & director credits courtesy

A brilliant surgeon with an unhealthy attraction to a beautiful actress secretly replaces the mangled hands of her pianist husband with a murderer's.

This remake of Robert Wiene's silent drama The Hands Of Orlac is refashioned as a showcase for Lorre in one of his first American films, and the actor's haunting stares and compelling performance as a villain on the verge of madness make for a most memorable film.  Enhanced by excellent photography and camera movement by Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane) and Chester Lyons and fluid direction by former cinematographer Karl Freund, the picture is a legitimate horror classic.  For me the only shortcomings were a scene in which Clive comes face to face with the owner of his new hands, handled much better in Wiene's original, and the poor attempts at humor by actors May Beatty and Ted Healy.

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