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Mad Love marked Peter Lorre's American screen debut, and was Karl Freund's first and only directorial effort for M-G-M. The film was presented with the following written disclaimer: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feels that it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We are about to unfold a story which we consider one of the strangest tales ever told. We think it will thrill you. It May shock you. It might horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject yourselves to such a strain, now is your chance to-well, we've warned you..." Hollywood Reporter pre-production news items initially announced that Claude Rains and Virginia Bruce were set to play the leads in this film. Hollywood Reporter production charts and pre-release news item list actors Kay English, Mary Jo Matthews, Rolfe Sedan, Billy Dooley, Theodore Lorch, Leo White, Bernard Siegel, Mike Cantwell and Monte Vandegrift in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to studio production records, working titles for this film were Les Mains d'Orlac, Hands of Orlac, The Oar of Orlac and Chamber of Horrors.
The file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that between April and May 1935, M-G-M was warned to avoid producing a film that would be "too brutal or too shocking." After having read the script, the Hays Office objected to the showing of the railroad wreck in the picture, and attempted to dissuade the studio from showing scenes of the dead, injured and dying lying about the baggage room after the wreck. In addition, the Hays Office urged M-G-M not to show the professor fondling the wax figure in his boudoir, and to "cut down as much as possible the spraying of the perfume." Mad Love was rejected by censors in several foreign countries or passed with the elimination of scenes of torture, guillotining, and strangulation. A previous film based on the same source was the 1924 Austrian film Orlac Hnde, directed by Robert Weine and starring Conrad Veidt and Alexandra Sorina, which was released in the United States as The Hands of Orlac. Another production based on the Maurice Renard novel was the 1964 French-British film entitled The Hands of Orlac, which starred Mel Ferrer and was directed by Edmond T. Greville (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.2030). Another film, the 1962 Hands of a Strangler, loosely based on Renard's novel, was written and direted Newt Arnold and starred Paul Luthaker and Joan Harvey (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films; F6.2029).