Written by P. J. Wolfson and John L. Balderston
From the novel Les Mains D’Orlac by Maurice Renard
Directed by Karl Freund
Starring Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive
US Release July 12, 1935
RT 68 min.
Home Video Warner Brothers
Classic Horrors rating = 7 (out of 10)
Mad Love is one of several adaptations of Maurice Renard’s story, The Hands of Orlac, and was Peter Lorre’s first American film. He plays Dr. Gogol, a surgeon who is in love with actress Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake), although she’s married to pianist Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive). When Mr. Orlac’s hands are mangled in a train accident, Gogol replaces them with those of executed killer, Rollo (Edward Brophy). Orlac’s new hands start taking a life of their own and Gogol hatches a plan to get him out of the picture so he can be with Yvonne.
This started out great. It’s very moody and stylish; Karl Freund (The Mummy, 1932) directed it. But it became a little silly. Like Mark of the Vampire, the extent to which the characters go to get what they want seems extreme. But, hey, that’s what makes an entertaining movie, I guess. Lorre is fantastic!