The Beast With Five Fingers (1946)
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as Bruce Conrad
as Julie Holden
as Hilary Cummins
as Francis Ingram
as Ouidio Castanio
as Raymond Arlington
as Donald Arlington
as Mrs. Miller
Critic Reviews for The Beast With Five Fingers
Since it is not cricket to divulge too many details, suffice it to say that Curt Siodmak's script explains the macabre goings-on psychologically and otherwise.
The animated hand, creepy piano music, and Lorre's eye-popping performance are all memorable.
This is one of those semi-classic horror films which contains unforgettably creepy sequences and one or two great performances along with a great deal of fudged plotting.
Audience Reviews for The Beast With Five Fingers
This film has two good things going for it - a few scenes with a disembodied hand scrambling about on its own, which is creepy especially for 1946, and of course, Peter Lorre. Unfortunately, they're not enough to overcome poor storytelling and a very weak script. The pace of this film is tedious for about the first hour, and it's padded with filler and a silly romance. Other than Lorre, the rest of the cast is mediocre. The tone of the film is off as well, with cheesy superfluous things tossed in like howling outside in the night and a silly epilogue going for B-movie camp value, but taking away from what would have been better darker. The special effects are excellent and how the film resolves itself with Lorre is interesting, so it's a shame the film wasn't in better hands. A better one with both Lorre and murderous, severed hands from a pianist, though with a different premise, is 'Mad Love' (1935).
A film biggest challenge is it ability to stand the test of times which is why even decades later we are still watching Charlie Chaplin comedies and many films made several decades ago. Unfortunately that is not case for "The Beast With Fingers" when even it title sounds cheesy. This film might have scared movie goers back in the day when it was release, but today it would make movie goers laugh. The Beast With Five Fingers takes place in an Italian village where the locals believe evil has taken over the estate of a recently deceased pianist where several murders have taken place. The alleged killer: is someone with five fingers. That plot synopsis is pretty much what makes up 80% percent of the movie. It's clear who the killer is, but I have to admit the writing kept things interesting enough to keep my attention. The characters are interesting and the effects on the moving severed hand look shockingly real. The effects do not look dated at all. To bad everything else did not aged as well. For starter the acting tends to be cheesy, especially Peter Lorre who outshines everyone in that category. He gives over the top facial expression and his line delivery are unintentionally funny. The best way to describe Peter Lorre acting is trying to imagine Matthew Broderick in cheesy horror role: unintentionally funny, but charming at the same time. The music is does add to the atmosphere, though it's about as generic as a horror music can get. The last twenty is where it becomes very slow with an ending that feels it came from a cartoon. It hasn't aged well as some other movies, but it wasn't bad as I expected. The Beast With Five Fingers is not a well aged horror movie, but it was a good enough experience to a sixty. If you're a fan of cheesy horror movie than this one might do the trick even if the last twenty minutes are not as strong. For everyone else, look elsewhere for your scares.
Not a fantastic piece of work, but well-written and interesting. Peter Lorre is, of course, the reason to watch the movie - although the ending was really silly and definitely felt tacked on.
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