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The Beast with Five Fingers

4.5 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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(Oct 07, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

Film icon Peter Lorre turns in yet another memorable performance in this eerie classic set in a small town in Italy. Hilary Cummins (Lorre), the devoted secretary to wheelchair-bound piano virtuoso Francis Ingram (Victor Francen), has a passion for the occult. Poring through every book on the supernatural he can find in Ingram's vast library, Hilary begins to imagine strange and terrifying things. But after Ingram's tragic death, the line between reality and unimaginable terror is blurred as the severed hand from Ingram's corpse begins killing everyone in the villa! Also starring Robert Alda and Andrea King, The Beast with Five Fingers is filled with wit, thrills and shocking plot twists!

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andrea King, Peter Lorre Robert Alda
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2013
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00FJYXP36
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,952 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
A superb and atmospheric early horror film with fine acting, super effects, tight script and haunting soundtrack. Lorre is in top form and the severed hand effects(in most cases)easily stand up against 1991's Addams Family 'Thing' effects.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the fantastic horror score by the great Max Steiner. The score to this film was re-recorded by William Stromberg and is available on two different compilation CD's right here on Amazon:

STEINER: Lost Patrol (The) / Virginia City

Murder and Mayhem: Suites from The Lodger (1944 Film) / The Beast With Five Fingers (1946 Film) / The Uninvited (1944 Film) [3 on 1]

Worth a watch just for the magnificent Mr. Peter Lorre's delivery of the single line "It was the hand I tell you!!!"
1 Comment 19 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Director Robert Florey's 'THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS'-1946 finally gets a DVD release from Warner Archive's DVD-R collection. Shown sporadically on Turner Classic Movies, it finally allows access to one of actor Peter Lorre's best roles as secretary to a famed concert pianist played sinisterly by venerable Victor Francen who at his death leaves everything to his pretty niece played by Andrea King causing Lorre to have murder on the mind and suddenly seeing the pianist's hand turning up at the most inopportune times. Actor Robert Alda plays the (is he or isn't he?) good guy and the great character actor J. Carrol Naish plays the inspector slinking around the mansion spewing wise cracks. The film emerges as an eerie excursion of guilt ridden terror and is let down by a humorous ending. The cinematography by Wesley Anderson enhances the proceedings showing how Director Florey should have had a better reputation in the Horror field. He and Lorre also collaborated in the underrated masterpiece 'THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK'-1941 which as yet has not seen a digital release. Warner Archive releases 'BEAST' in a nice transfer showing off the atmosphere of the proceedings but no extras. Although the price is a bit steep, it deserves to be in every classic Horror fans collection.
2 Comments 14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on April 14, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
It takes a while to get the story rolling but when it does, the payoff is fantastic. Peter Lorre is so over-the-top pathetic and creepy, it's almost up there with his insanely perfect acting in "Mad Love" (1935). There has never been an actor like him and there never will be. Furthermore this story of an avenging hand must have inspired films like "The Crawling Hand", "Evil Dead 2" etc. Forget crud like "Scream" check out this near-classic horror tale.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's funny how this purchase came about. I was talking to a co worker about this movie not being available and within days Warner Brothers released it, however, it was more expensive than Amazon's price. This copy is very clean with perfect audio.
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By John on November 30, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Lovely sharp print of this long-impossible-to-find minor gem. Like quite a few films of this period it's weakened (at the start) by rather too much light comedy, & so isn't a classic in the way say the Val Lewton b-movies are. However, Peter Lorre's performance is great, and the last half-hour (of an hour & 25 minutes) is really atmospheric, & the creeping hand effects are (in the main) really very good indeed. No extras to speak of - just the original trailer (how lumpy trailers used to be!) which has an enjoyably histrionic tone.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this movie on TV I was maybe 8-9 yrs old. This was scary good fun at that age. Saw they finally released on DVD and purchased right away. Still a very atmospheric film and eerie. A movie does not have to be bloody to be good. Peter Lorrie is great in the role as the personal secretary/assistant. As usual you never know what he's up to. I feel its a classic of it's time and very pleased with my purchase.
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Format: DVD
Hooray, finally on DVD! I agree with another reviewer who stated "A superb and atmospheric early horror film with fine acting, super effects, tight script and haunting soundtrack". Our younger movie viewers who are accustomed to high levels of gore and large-scale CGI in current movies may find "Beast" old fashioned and maybe a bit silly (and it's in B&W), but this movie shows what great writing and acting can do for a "B" type movie. If anyone is familiar with the great classic Warner Brother's Bugs Bunny cartoons, you may remember a recurring character of a psychopathic mad doctor that was based on Peter Lorre. Most of this character was based on Lorre's character in Beast With Five Fingers. This is a classic and wonderfully eerie movie that any fan of bygone suspense or horror movies should have in their collection. By the way, for some reason Warner Brother's burns this movie onto a DVD-R disc seemingly on an as-ordered basis. My DVD looks stunning and plays without issues. My previous DVD was one that I burned from VHS that I recorded from Turner Classic Movies channel which was horrible quality. On the Warner Brother's home website it states that "Beast" has been remastered, and it certainly looks like it. Good job!
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Format: VHS Tape
The Beast with Five Fingers (Robert Florey, 1946)

1946 was the last year Peter Lorre worked for Warner Brothers, and his parting from the company was career suicide; while he remains one of the world's most famous actors, endlessly imitated and paid tribute, from his parting with Warner Brothers until his death in 1964, Lorre picked up only the odd film here and there (though some of them are truly excellent) and some TV guest appearances. Thus it is that The Beast with Five Fingers is something of a bittersweet film for the nostalgia buff; it is a great Lorre performance, but it marked the beginning of the end.

Set in the late nineteenth century in northern Italy, The Beast with Five Fingers is the tale of Frances Ingram (Victor Francen), a pianist with a rather motley crew of eccentrics living with him. There's Bruce Conrad (Robert Alda), a smooth con man who's in love with the old pianist's companion/nurse Julie Holden (Andrea King). This wouldn't necessarily be so bad, but read "companion/nurse"as a rough equivalent to "trophy wife" here. Then there's Hilary Cummins (Lorre), a crackpot who's collected a great number of very old books on all sorts of topics while looking for... something, we're never quite sure what. Conrad, con man that he is, is in a state of detente with the local police commissioner, Castano (J. Carrol Naish); they seem to cordially despise one another. Until, that is, the old man finally kicks the bucket, setting off a nasty inheritance battle between Julie and the pianist's blood relations, Raymond (Charles Dingle) and Donald (John Alvin) Arlington. But all of that is beside the point; the real plot here is that the dead pianist's hand was removed, and is now the leading suspect in the murders of some of the inhabitants of the house.
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