Mad Love


1h 8m 1935
Mad Love

Brief Synopsis

A mad doctor grafts the hands of a murderer on to a concert pianist's wrists.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
Chamber of Horrors, Les Mains d'Orlac, The Hands of Orlac, The Oar of Orlac
Genre
Horror
Release Date
Jul 12, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Les Mains d'Orlac by Maurice Renard (Paris, 1920).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

Renowned Parisian surgeon Doctor Gogol is obsessed with the beautiful horror theater actress Yvonne Orlac. The doctor, who never misses a local guillotining, can always be found in the audience when Yvonne is on stage. Following Yvonne's final performance, in which she plays a tortured victim, the actress receives flowers from her biggest fan, Gogol, who later comes to her dressing room to introduce himself. When Gogol learns that Yvonne is planning to travel to England with her husband Stephen, a rising young pianist, he shows great distress at the news. In another part of the city, Rollo, an American circus knifethrower who killed his wife and knifed his father over the loss of a woman, is led to his guillotining. Gogol attends the execution, and when he returns home he receives a call from Yvonne, who tells him that her husband has been injured in a tragic train wreck and is in need of the best surgeon in Paris. Gogol, who is famous for his work in healing deformed children and mutilated soldiers, realizes while treating Stephen, that his hands are so badly damaged that they require amputation. The doctor quickly decides to perform an experiment on the injured pianist by removing the hands of the executed Rollo and sewing them on to the amputee. After procuring a medical release from the prefect, Gogol sends for the corpse and then successfully performs the operation. Unaware of the experiment performed on him, Stephen returns to Yvonne, who is surprised to discover that her husband can no longer play the piano as he did before the accident. When a bill collector pays the Orlacs a visit, Stephen becomes enraged with anger and, to everyone's amazement, hurls his penknife at him. Later, Stephen again loses control of his hands when his stepfather, Henry Orlac, refuses to give him money. Stephen throws a knife at him, but narrowly misses. Meanwhile, Gogol takes advantage of Yvonne's gratitude for his services by asking her to perform a private show for him. Stephen, troubled by his uncontrollable hands, seeks the opinion of Dr. Marbeau, who marvels at the recovery of hands that were once crushed seemingly beyond repair. After some thought, the doctor concludes that Stephen's hands must not be his own. Following Stephen's visit to Dr. Marbeau, newspaper headlines report that Stephen's stepfather has been found murdered. Gogol, who killed Henry himself, convinces Stephen that he killed his own stepfather by disguising himself as the decapitated and revived Rollo and then telling him that the murder was committed with the hands that were removed from his body. The frightened pianist is mesmerized by the disguised Gogol and finds proof that he killed his stepfather when he displays his mysterious knife-throwing skills. Following Stephen's arrest, Yvonne decides to investigate the elusive Gogol herself, and goes to his home, where she finds a statue of herself in his parlor. When Gogol returns home, he discovers Yvonne and begins to hear voices in his head telling him that "each man kills the thing he loves." The mad doctor then grabs Yvonne and begins to strangle her with her hair. Yvonne is rescued, however, when the police show up with her husband, who expertly throws a knife at the murderous Gogol and kills him.

Photo Collections

Mad Love - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Mad Love - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Mad Love - Lobby Cards
Mad Love - Lobby Cards

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Chamber of Horrors, Les Mains d'Orlac, The Hands of Orlac, The Oar of Orlac
Genre
Horror
Release Date
Jul 12, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Les Mains d'Orlac by Maurice Renard (Paris, 1920).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

Mad Love (1935)


The brilliant surgeon, Doctor Gogol, is obsessed with Yvonne Orlac, the beautiful star of the Parisian Horror Theatre and wife of renown pianist Stephen Orlac. In fact, he's so entranced with her beauty that he steals a life-size replica of her from the theatre lobby to worship privately in his own study. Although Dr. Gogol's intense devotion frightens Yvonne, she pleads for his help when her husband's hands are mutilated in a gruesome train wreck. An emergency surgery is scheduled and Dr. Gogol grafts the hands of a recently executed murderer onto the ends of the pianist's arms. Although the operation is a success, Stephen Orlac has a terrible feeling about his new hands and his suspicions are confirmed through a series of unsettling incidents.

In the grand tradition of Le Grand Guignol, a theatre specializing in horrific entertainments in Paris in 1908, Mad Love was such a disturbing film for its time that the studio released it with an opening disclaimer that began, "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...." The Hays Office, in particular, had voiced their objections to the script prior to production, warning against any scenes depicting the train wreck, its gruesome aftermath, or acts of torture. The censors even urged the filmmakers to refrain from showing Doctor Gogol fondling the wax replica of Yvonne.

Pre-production publicity for Mad Love announced that Claude Rains and Virginia Bruce were set to play the leads but, in the end, the film became a showcase for Peter Lorre who was making his American film debut. His performance received rave notices, inspiring Charlie Chaplin to exclaim, "He is the greatest living actor." Without a doubt, his portrayal must have had an influence on Orson Welles who copied details of Dr. Gogol's physical appearance for his aging tycoon in Citizen Kane. A white cockatoo, not something you see in many movies, also shows up in both films and there are similarities in the gothic sets and lighting which isn't surprising since cinematographer Gregg Toland worked on both Mad Love and Citizen Kane.

Like most great horror films, Mad Love is based on a popular novel, Les Mains d'Orlac by Maurice Renard, which has enjoyed numerous screen adaptations: Orlac Hande, a 1924 silent version starring Werner Kraus and Colin Clive, The Hands of Orlac (1960) with Mel Ferrer, a low-budget 1962 version entitled Hands of a Stranger featuring Sally Kellerman in an early screen appearance, Choice Cuts (1965), the award-winning novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, and Body Parts (1991), starring Jeff Fahey and Brad Dourif.

Producer: John W. Considine Jr.
Director: Karl Freund
Screenplay: Guy Endore, P.J. Wolfson, John Balderston
Cinematography: Chester Lyons, Gregg Toland
Editor: Hugh Wynn
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Music: Dimitri Tiomkin
Cast: Peter Lorre (Dr. Gogol), Colin Clive (Stephen Orlac), Frances Drake (Yvonne Orlac), Ted Healy (Reagan), Edward Brophy (Rollo), Sara Haden (Marie).
BW-68m. Closed captioning

by Jeff Stafford
Mad Love (1935)

Mad Love (1935)

The brilliant surgeon, Doctor Gogol, is obsessed with Yvonne Orlac, the beautiful star of the Parisian Horror Theatre and wife of renown pianist Stephen Orlac. In fact, he's so entranced with her beauty that he steals a life-size replica of her from the theatre lobby to worship privately in his own study. Although Dr. Gogol's intense devotion frightens Yvonne, she pleads for his help when her husband's hands are mutilated in a gruesome train wreck. An emergency surgery is scheduled and Dr. Gogol grafts the hands of a recently executed murderer onto the ends of the pianist's arms. Although the operation is a success, Stephen Orlac has a terrible feeling about his new hands and his suspicions are confirmed through a series of unsettling incidents. In the grand tradition of Le Grand Guignol, a theatre specializing in horrific entertainments in Paris in 1908, Mad Love was such a disturbing film for its time that the studio released it with an opening disclaimer that began, "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...." The Hays Office, in particular, had voiced their objections to the script prior to production, warning against any scenes depicting the train wreck, its gruesome aftermath, or acts of torture. The censors even urged the filmmakers to refrain from showing Doctor Gogol fondling the wax replica of Yvonne. Pre-production publicity for Mad Love announced that Claude Rains and Virginia Bruce were set to play the leads but, in the end, the film became a showcase for Peter Lorre who was making his American film debut. His performance received rave notices, inspiring Charlie Chaplin to exclaim, "He is the greatest living actor." Without a doubt, his portrayal must have had an influence on Orson Welles who copied details of Dr. Gogol's physical appearance for his aging tycoon in Citizen Kane. A white cockatoo, not something you see in many movies, also shows up in both films and there are similarities in the gothic sets and lighting which isn't surprising since cinematographer Gregg Toland worked on both Mad Love and Citizen Kane. Like most great horror films, Mad Love is based on a popular novel, Les Mains d'Orlac by Maurice Renard, which has enjoyed numerous screen adaptations: Orlac Hande, a 1924 silent version starring Werner Kraus and Colin Clive, The Hands of Orlac (1960) with Mel Ferrer, a low-budget 1962 version entitled Hands of a Stranger featuring Sally Kellerman in an early screen appearance, Choice Cuts (1965), the award-winning novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, and Body Parts (1991), starring Jeff Fahey and Brad Dourif. Producer: John W. Considine Jr. Director: Karl Freund Screenplay: Guy Endore, P.J. Wolfson, John Balderston Cinematography: Chester Lyons, Gregg Toland Editor: Hugh Wynn Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons Music: Dimitri Tiomkin Cast: Peter Lorre (Dr. Gogol), Colin Clive (Stephen Orlac), Frances Drake (Yvonne Orlac), Ted Healy (Reagan), Edward Brophy (Rollo), Sara Haden (Marie). BW-68m. Closed captioning by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

'Peter Lorre' was under contract to Columbia. He agreed to be loaned out to Metro Goldwyn Mayer for this film if Columbia would do a film version of _Crime and Punishment (1935)_ with him in the role of Raskolnikov.

The close-ups of the wax statue are actually Frances Drake in makeup.

Easily recognized actors who are supposed to be in this movie according to studio records and/or casting call lists include Harold Huber, Isabel Jeans, George Davis, Billy Dooley and Leo White. However, they were not seen.

The Hays Office cautioned the studio about showing scenes of the dead, injured or dying after the train wreck. Some countries banned the film altogether, while others cut the scenes of torture, guillotining and strangulation.

Notes

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 Hände, 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).