Les Mains d'Orlac

The Hands of Orlac


Edmond T. Greville

The well known story of the injured pianist who receives a strangler's hands is told here with some arty flourishes, but never manages to rise above B-movie standards. The lead performances are earnest, but there is no character development to speak of. Claude Bolling's jazz soundtrack is fine on it's own, but overwhelms whatever atmosphere the movie is trying to generate. There is enough artistry to make one wonder what a more nuanced director, such as Franju, might have made.

Note: Unlike the UK version, the French version does not carry the end cast list; though the UK version claims that the film was shot at Shepperton and the French version counters with Studios de la Victorine, both versions were clearly shot all over the place including the both studios. There are many differences between versions, both big and small; for instance, though Janina Faye is credited on the UK version, her little cameo in the park disappears completely from that version but appears seemingly complete in the French version. The climactic nightclub scene differs greatly in all kinds of ways; true to the “Continental” rules, on the French version the bare breasts of Carrel can be seen in the mirror but for the English language version they are blocked by Christopher Lee's head. Peter Bennett and George Merritt are listed as club members, but whatever lines they had seems to have been cut. All you see in the finished film are the backs of their heads.

Since the versions differ significantly (even different cinematographers), and the French version is more easily accesible, I have chosen to use that one here (it's also the better film; Carrel & Lee particualrly fare better in French).

Original: 21 May 2013, revised 05 July 2017.

Thanks to Philly once again for sorting out both unknowns and my mistakes!

-Dave W.

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Les Mains d'Orlac
12th April 1961

100 mins

The Hands of Orlac
6th March 1962

95 mins

Mel Ferrer
Stephen Orlac
(Steven in UK credits)
Christopher Lee
( Nero in UK version)
Dany Carrel
Régina / Li-Lang
Lucile Saint-Simon
Louise Cochrane Orlac
Edouard Hemme
Uncle Ange
Donald Wolfit
Professeur Volcheff
(as Sir Donald Wolfit)
Mireille Perrey
Madame Aliberti
Felix Aylmer
Dr. Francis Cochrane
Émilie, Louise's Maid
Basil Sydney
Maurice Seidelman
Franca Bel
Marseilles Prostitute
Peter Reynolds
M. Félix
Campbell Singer
Inspector Henderson
Donald Pleasence
Graham Coates
Stanford Robinson
Concert Orchestra Conductor
Arnold Diamond
Orlac's Dresser
Philip Webb
David Peel
Jean Combal
Gendarme Blocking Ambulance
Pierre Ferrari
Ambulance Attendant
Pat Lewis
Anita Sharp-Bolster
Volcheff's Assistant
Edmond T. Gréville
Louis Vasseur
(in newspaper photo)
Andrée Florence
Nurse Reading Paper
Gertan Klauber
Fairground Attendant
Man at Fairground
John More
Concert Audience
Richard Nellor
Concert Audience
Unknown Male 84
Convert Audience
Victor Harrington
Concert Audience
Hyma Beckley
Concert Audience
John Tatum
Concert Audience
Paul Beradi
Concert Audience
Unknown Male 70
Concert Audience
Peter Evans
Concert Audience
Fred Stroud
Concert Audience
Concert Audience
Concert Audience
Manny Michael
Unknown Male 30
Club Member
John Timberlake
Club Barman
George Merritt
Second Club Member
Peter Bennett
First Club Member
Janina Faye
Little Girl in Park
Little Girl's Nanny
Terry Sartain
Man in Clinic Hallway
Richard Nellor
Surgeon in Clinic Hallway
Walter Randall
Nightclub Waiter
Manning Wilson
Inspector Jagger
Unknown Male 76
Detective in Office
Unknown Male 170
Nightclub Orchestra (pianist)
John Smart
Nightclub Audience
Victor Harrington
Nightclub Audience
Unknown Male 132
Nightclub Audience
Philip Stewart
Nightclub Audience
Ernest Blyth
Nightclub Audience
Unknown Male 30
Nightclub Audience
Juba Kennerley
Nightclub Audience
Johnny Wyne
Nightclub Audience
Unknown Male 29
Nightclub Audience
Unknown Male 48
Nightclub Audience
Arthur Dibbs
Nightclub Audience
Unknown Male 86
Club Audience
Emil Stemmler
Nightclub Waiter
Aileen Lewis
Nightclub Audience
Nightclub Stagehand
(Geoffrey Tyrrell?)
Charles Gilliard
Fred Davis
Fiona Davie
Young Girl
Jean Fountaine
Robert Rietty
Post-Sync Dubbing
(UK version)
Camille Guérini
Voice: Maurice Seidelman
Georges Hubert
Voice: Graham Coates
Roland Ménard
Voice: Dresser
Jacqueline Ferrière
Voice: Émilie
Antoine Balpêtré
Voice: Professeur Volcheff
Serge Nadaud
Voice: Professeur Volcheff
(according to Wikipedia)
Lucien Bryonne
Voice: Dr. Francis Cochrane
Jean Berton
Voice: Inspector Henderson
Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Dave Wright: Screencaps & Notes

Dave Wright: 79 Caps