Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Hands of a Stranger (1962)
You may not have heard of the novel The Hands of Orlac but there is a fairly good chance you're familiar with the premise, as it's been adapted and re-used many times: a concert pianist has his hands destroyed in an accident. He becomes the recipient of a successful hand transplant. However, the hands come from a deceased murderer, and the pianist begins to fear that they are continuing their homicidal ways when he is asleep.
This film makes no mention of the novel in its credits, but it's about a concert pianist who has his hands destroyed in an accident, receives a transplant, and then experiences violent impulses. So the source of inspiration is clear, even if the resolution ends up being rather different.
I've never read the novel, but a review I found online described it as very boring. And in that regard at least, it would appear that this film is a faithful adaptation. It's an incredibly static piece of movie-making, full of drably-shot scenes of near-motionless actors spouting lines back and forth. You wouldn't think a movie with multiple murders would be quite so dull, but it is.
Apparently the film was made in 1960 but then couldn't find a distributor for over 12 months. It's not hard to see why.