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Eye on Sound: Orlac's Hände

Orlac's Hände

Robert Wiene / AT, 1924 / 75 min.

French master pianist Alexandre Tharaud, who left an indelible impression with his live improvisation accompanying Murnau’s Sunrise, this time focuses his musical talents on the fate of concert pianist Paul Orlac. This tragic character falls into deep despair after a train accident and some trauma surgery that was still pure science fiction at the time: his hand-transplant donor was a executed murderer.

Poster Orlacs Hände

This 1924 film slaloms between psychological horror and crime drama. Director Robert Wiene once again worked with actor Conrad Veidt, who also had one of the leading roles in the groundbreaking Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. Conrad’s expressionist performance depicts Orlac’s hallucinatory fears which centre on his hands gradually taking over his mind. Until, that is, he himself is suspected of murder. With German title cards.

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This is part of



Robert Wiene

Production year




Original title

Orlac's Hände


75 min.


no dialogue

Part of

Eye on Sound

What would Sergio Leone’s films be without Ennio Morricone’s world-renowned scores? And what remains of Blade Runner without Vangelis’ unworldly synthesizers? Who doesn’t immediately think of Miles Davis’ languid nocturnal jazz in the case of Ascenseur pour l’échafaud? Music and sound are an essential part of the cinematic experience. In fact, they are vital to the experience of film.

Learn more
Eye on Sound: live music in Eye's arena
still from Orlac's Hände
still from Orlac's Hände