Tuesday, February 14, 2017

200 Items Or Less: The Beast With Five Fingers (1946)

A few thoughts: The second killer hand movie starring Peter Lorre that I'm aware of, this mystery/horror/thriller almost entirely set within a single house is one of the finest of its time, offering interesting twists and providing Lorre possibly the best role of his entire career. While there are definitely some flaws in its tone and semi-comedic execution, the occasionally lighthearted approach to this dark and psychological story is never enough to distract from the overall effect and quality of the film, which makes the most of its limited setting and quirky characters. It's gorgeous to look at (the lighting and set design are incredibly effective), always keeps you guessing, and does a great job at establishing its immoral characters and their respective motivations. As I said before, Lorre is terrific here, adding an air of creepiness that would've otherwise been lost without him. While I personally would've scrapped the cornball comedy that pops up in the last several minutes, I still felt very satisfied by the time it had finished. Good stuff.

Who would I recommend it to? Fans of classic who-dun-it murder mysteries and psychological horror should find plenty here to love. It's one of the strongest horror films of the 1940s.

My grade: B

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