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Revisiting the Classics: MAD LOVE

Of all those great old black-and-white Horror movies of yesteryear, this one isn’t as well know. That’s a shame, because it’s as good as many and better than some of them. It lacks a Dracula, or a Frankenstein, or a Wolfman or Mummy to make it stand out, but it does have a mad scientist. And it has the remarkable Peter Lorre. Maybe it’s the title. MAD LOVE kinda sucks. As the film is based on the French novel THE HANDS OF ORLAC, one wonders why they didn’t just call it that. Heck, they could have called it “Frankenhands” and it would have been a better fit.

Peter Lorre made his American film debut as a brilliant surgeon who grafts the hands of an executed criminal onto the arms of a celebrated pianist after the latter loses his own hands in a train accident. The hands, though, seem to have a mind of their own. Rather than playing the piano, they prefer to throw knives. The excellent Colin Clive plays the afflicted pianist, but it is Lorre’s equally creepy and sympathetic performance that carries the film. Directed by Karl Freund, who also directed THE MUMMY and worked as cinematographer on DRACULA, MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, and METROPOLIS, among numerous other films, MAD LOVE (which *so* should have been called Frankenhands!) is something of a lost gem, one well worth digging up.

TheCheezman • September 2, 2019

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