The beast with the five fingers

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German title The beast with the five fingers
Original title The Beast with Five Fingers
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1946
length 88 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Robert Florey
script Curt Siodmak
production William Jacobs
music Max Steiner
camera Wesley Anderson
cut Frank Magee

The beast with five fingers (original title: The Beast with five Fingers ) is an American horror film shot in black and white from 1946 . It was produced by William Jacobs and directed by Robert Florey . The leading roles were played by Peter Lorre , Robert Alda and Andrea King . The script is based on a story by William Fryer Harvey .


The film is set in an Italian village where the old, formerly well-known pianist Francis Ingram lives in a large mansion. He has needed a wheelchair since a stroke ; his right side is paralyzed. He lives there with Julie Holden, his caretaker, Bruce Conrad, his composer, and Hilary Cummins, his secretary. Francis often plays with his left hand on his piano pieces that Bruce composed for him. One day, Francis asks his roommates to have dinner with him. He has made a will and is asking everyone to sign the will to show his spiritual clarity.

Francis fell in love with Julie Holden. But he doesn't know yet that Julie decided to travel to America because she feels like a prisoner. When she tells Hilary about it, Hilary tries to persuade her to stay. Hilary wants to use the knowledge from Francis books to find out the secret of being able to see into the future. If Julie stopped taking care of Francis, he would have to take her place and would no longer have time for his research, which he pursues like a madman. One day Hilary overhears Bruce and Julie in the garden decide to travel to the United States together and they kiss. Hilary reports it to Francis. The latter does not want to believe him and begins in anger to choke Hilary with his left hand. Fortunately, Bruce and Julie join us. Francis says he never wants to see Hilary again.

Francis suddenly wakes up during the night. He gets into his wheelchair and looks for Julie. When it doesn't show up, he gets angry. He keeps calling her name. Finally he falls down the stairs and dies. The next day, Francis' death is investigated by Commissario Ovidio Castanio, who can find no evidence of murder. Julie blames herself for Francis' death, but Bruce cheers her up. At night they see that a light is burning in the mausoleum . You look, but there is nobody in it.

A few days later, Francis' relative Raymond Arlington and his son Donald arrive from London. When Hilary learns that Donald is likely to inherit the house, Hilary says that the books were his because Francis bought them for him. But Raymond demands that the books also pass into Donald's possession. Hilary is upset. Francis 'attorney Duprex reads out the will, in which it is astonishing that Francis' property and house will not be bequeathed to Donald, but to Julie. Raymond and Donald are outraged and claim that Francis was no longer himself when he wrote the will. Bruce explains to Raymond that Julie will forego the inheritance and that she will travel to the United States with him. But Julie decides to take over the inheritance because she feels sorry for Hilary. When everyone has left the room, Raymond instructs Duprex to check the will again, as Francis had already written a will prior to this will in which he transfers his property to Donald. Duprex assures that the new testament will be invalid tomorrow. Later that night, however, Duprex is strangled by a man (not visible to the viewer).

Duprex's body is found the next day and examined by Ovidio Castanio. He discovers that Francis has fingerprints on Duprex's neck and that the strangle marks look exactly like those on Hilary's neck. Bruce, Raymond and Ovidio therefore examine the mausoleum again. They discover that a window has been smashed from the inside. However, the hole is so small that no one would fit through it. They open Francis' coffin and discover that the corpse's hand has been cut off.

Later, the residents of the house hear someone playing the same tune on the piano that Francis used to play. Then Ovidio can see Donald being strangled by Francis' hand. Donald can be saved, but is injured. Hilary later sits down at the desk in the library when suddenly a box opens on the table and the hand crawls out of it. She tries to grab Hilary, but Hilary can grab her and put her in a drawer. Horrified, he picks up Bruce and Julie. When he tried to show them his hand, it disappeared. Bruce and Julie go back upstairs thinking Hilary is going crazy. Then Raymond, Bruce and Ovidio look for Francis First Testament in a safe hidden in a bookcase. You suddenly hear the piano playing again. It drives Raymond insane, escapes the house, and is followed by Bruce.

Hilary now finds the hand in a bookshelf. Again she reaches for him, whereupon he grabs her, opens the safe, puts his hand in it and pegs her down. He goes to Julie, to whom he reports about the hand. Hilary is delusional and sees the hand playing the piano. But Julie does not hear the music; she realizes that Hilary committed the murder because he was obsessed with his work. To distract himself, he cut off Francis' corpse's hand and strangled the victims with it. He has gone mad and can no longer distinguish between right and wrong, reality and fantasy. So Hilary now thinks the hand is alive. When Julie confronts Hilary with it, of course he doesn't believe her and wants to strangle her too. She assures him that she is his girlfriend and that he must destroy his hand. He goes downstairs and wants to burn his hand in the fireplace. Suddenly the hand rises from the fire and strangles Hilary.

In the final scene, Ovidio explains that the music they were listening to came from a record player hidden in an ancient armor.


“Thanks to a fantastic Peter Lorre and funny special effects, Warner's only horror film from the 1940s is handsome to this day. Luis Buñuel is said to have had a hand in the game. "


"Formally and in terms of content irrelevant, but at least exciting horror film."


In Germany was The Beast with Five Fingers not in theaters. It was first broadcast on March 7, 1978 on NDR . The film was released on DVD on October 28, 2015 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Critique on
  2. The beast with the five fingers. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used