The Hands of Orlac

A black-and-white film still. A person in a dress looks in terror at another person, who wears a cape and top hat and is seen from behind. A staircase is visible in the background.

Still from Robert Wiene’s The Hands of Orlac (Austria, 1924, 93 mins.)

In Robert Wiene’s silent horror film The Hands of Orlac (Austria, 1924, 93 mins.; presented with English intertitles), a renowned pianist wakes up in horror following a train crash: his hands have been amputated and replaced with those of an executed murderer. Depicting an artist’s continuous descent into paranoia and madness, the film is a haunting example of German Expressionism that reunites Dr. Caligari director Robert Wiene and actor Conrad Veidt for another spellbinding performance. This screening is accompanied by a live musical performance by Joanna Seaton and Donald Sosin. 

“Films at the Whitney” presents two striking examples of German Expressionist cinema, in conjunction with the exhibition Munch and Kirchner: Anxiety and Expression at the Yale University Art Gallery. Cosponsored by the Whitney Humanities Center and the Gallery’s Martin A. Ryerson Lectureship Fund. Film series organized by Lorenz Hegel, Ph.D. candidate in the combined program in Film and Media Studies and German Studies, Yale University.

The screening will be held at the Alice Cinema (Humanities Quadrangle, 320 York Street).