I watched this 1946 mystery/horror, Warner Bros., film “The Beast With Five Fingers” on Svengoolie. It is about a pianist, Francis Ingram, played by Victor Francen (career in French cinema and Hollywood, Madame Curie, A Farewell to Arms) who is in a wheelchair and only has the use of one hand. He plays the piano, with this hand, extremely well, with music written by Bruce Conrad played by Robert Alda (Alan Alda’s dad, The Devil’s Hand, M*A*S*H, The Girl Who Knew Too Much)
who has fallen in love with Ingram’s nurse (and love) Julie Holden played by Andrea King (The Lemon Drop Kid, Red Planet Mars, Darby’s Rangers, lots of TV episodes like Cheyenne, Mike Hammer, 77 Sunset Strip, The Donna Reed Show, Dragnet, Family Affair).
Hillary Cummins played by Peter Lorre (The Man Who Knew Too Much, Mr. Moto movies, The Face Behind the Mask, The Maltese Falcon, Invisible Agent, Casablanca, Arsenic and Old Lace, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, Silk Stockings, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Comedy of Terrors, Muscle Beach Party)
is Ingram’s secretary, living in the mansion, studying Astrology in the giant library. Ingram writes his will, leaving everything to his nurse, Julie, and then dies by falling down the stairs. Later, his disembodied hand is playing the piano, killing people and haunting the house. The Commissario Ovidio Castanio played by J. Carrol Naish (Charlie Chan at the Circus, The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1943 The Batman, Calling Dr. Death,
The Monster Maker, House of Frankenstein, The Fugitive, Rio Grande, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, The New Adventures of Charlie Chan TV show) is trying to investigate the mystery. Other stars are John Alvin (over 25 WB movies),
Patricia White (All My Children, Days of our Lives, Guiding Light, and many TV episodes for shows like Maverick, Gunsmoke, Bronco, Rawhide, The Virginian, Mannix, The Flying Nun, Columbo, Dallas, Charlie’s Angels) and
William Edmunds (It’s a Wonderful Life, Casablanca, House of Frankenstein, The Three Musketeers). The movie was directed by Robert Florey (Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Face Behind the Mask, Tarzan and the Mermaids) and produced by William Jacobs (Night of Terror, Calamity Jane, Over the Goal, Christmas in Connecticut, Tea for Two).
The movie reminded me of the creepiness of Dark Shadows and of course “Thing” in the Addams family. Peter Lorre was excellent in the movie and I enjoyed it. I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.