The Hand (1981)

R | 104 mins | Horror | 24 April 1981

Director:

Oliver Stone

Writer:

Oliver Stone

Producer:

Edward R. Pressman

Cinematographer:

King Baggot

Editor:

Richard Marks

Production Designer:

John Michael Riva

Production Company:

Ixtlan
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HISTORY

End credits include the following statements: “Thanks to Special Make-up Consultants Stan Winston, Tom Burman” and “Thanks to Lynn Raymond; Kenworthy Snorkel Camera Systems and Jack Palinkas.”
       An item in the 21 Mar 1980 DV announced that Keith Franklin was cast in the film, but Franklin’s name does not appear in onscreen credits. Articles in the 12 Dec 1979 Var and the 4 Jun 1980 Var reported that producer Edward R. Pressman was partnering with the Jon Peters Organization to produce The Hand for Orion Pictures. Although an item in the 27 Dec 1979 DV stated the film was now “an Edward R. Pressman production for Orion Pictures,” a casting notice in the 4 Feb 1980 DV reported the film was for “Edward Pressman Productions in association with Jon Peters Organization for Orion Pictures,” and a production listing in the 21 Mar 1980 HR announced that The Hand was “A Jon Peters presentation of an Edward R. Pressman production.” However, neither Jon Peters nor his company receive onscreen credit.
       The 4 Jun 1980 Var reported that the film was director-writer-actor Oliver Stone’s feature film directorial debut, but production notes in AMPAS library files stated that Stone’s directing debut was the low-budget film Seizure (1974, see entry) and The Hand was the first major motion picture directed by Stone.
       The 12 Dec 1979 Var and the 27 Dec 1979 DV reported that principal photography would begin 15 Feb 1980 in Northern California and New York City locations, however, as ... More Less

End credits include the following statements: “Thanks to Special Make-up Consultants Stan Winston, Tom Burman” and “Thanks to Lynn Raymond; Kenworthy Snorkel Camera Systems and Jack Palinkas.”
       An item in the 21 Mar 1980 DV announced that Keith Franklin was cast in the film, but Franklin’s name does not appear in onscreen credits. Articles in the 12 Dec 1979 Var and the 4 Jun 1980 Var reported that producer Edward R. Pressman was partnering with the Jon Peters Organization to produce The Hand for Orion Pictures. Although an item in the 27 Dec 1979 DV stated the film was now “an Edward R. Pressman production for Orion Pictures,” a casting notice in the 4 Feb 1980 DV reported the film was for “Edward Pressman Productions in association with Jon Peters Organization for Orion Pictures,” and a production listing in the 21 Mar 1980 HR announced that The Hand was “A Jon Peters presentation of an Edward R. Pressman production.” However, neither Jon Peters nor his company receive onscreen credit.
       The 4 Jun 1980 Var reported that the film was director-writer-actor Oliver Stone’s feature film directorial debut, but production notes in AMPAS library files stated that Stone’s directing debut was the low-budget film Seizure (1974, see entry) and The Hand was the first major motion picture directed by Stone.
       The 12 Dec 1979 Var and the 27 Dec 1979 DV reported that principal photography would begin 15 Feb 1980 in Northern California and New York City locations, however, as noted in the HR on 3 Mar 1980 and 21 Mar 1980, filming began 3 Mar 1980 in Los Angeles, CA. According to production notes, locations also included the San Bernardino, CA, mountains and Laird International Studios in Culver City, CA. Carlo Rambaldi, credited for special visual effects, designed thirty different mechanical hands for the film, including a crawling hand, a walking hand and a strangling hand. According to an item in the 10 Oct 1980 DV, principal photography was completed prior to the Jul 1980 start of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike, but Michael Caine returned to film two close-up shots on 9 Oct 1980.
       The 28 Apr 1981 DV reported The Hand opened in Los Angeles, CA, and New York at 183 theaters on 24 Apr 1981. The first three day total was $566,736. The film’s wide release date was 15 May 1981. In the Dec 1981 Rolling Stone, The Hand was cited in the article “Big Bucks, Big Losers – Twenty-four Films that Bombed in 1981.” The article listed the film’s production budget at $5.5 million and its domestic rentals at less than $1 million.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1979.
---
Daily Variety
4 Feb 1980.
---
Daily Variety
21 Mar 1980.
---
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1980.
---
Daily Variety
28 Apr 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Apr 1981
p. 8.
New York Times
24 Apr 1981
p. 8.
Rolling Stone
Dec 1981.
---
Variety
12 Dec 1979.
---
Variety
4 Jun 1980.
---
Variety
29 Apr 1981
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion Pictures Release
Thru Warner Bros, A Warner Communications Company
An Edward R. Pressman - Ixtlan Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Addl photog
Elec gaffer
Elec best boy
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Illustrator
Addl artwork
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Lead person
Swing gang
Swing gang
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Const labor foreman
Greensman
Const painter
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus ed
Mus rec by
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom man
Cable man
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Spec sd eff des and Dolby consultant
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Addl elec sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff
Spec laboratory assistance
Spec laboratory assistance
Title des
Title opt eff
Coord, Hand eff
Elec hand, Hand eff
Asst, Hand eff
Asst, Hand eff
Asst, Hand eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Spec makeup consultant
Spec makeup consultant
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Tech adv
Medical and psychiatric consultant
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst to dir
Controller
Payroll asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Animal handler
Research
Extra casting
Casting asst
Welfare worker
Crafts service
First aid
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Lizard's Tail by Marc Brandel (New York, 1979).
AUTHOR
SONGS
“Union City Blue,” by Deborah Harry and Nigel Harrison, © 1979 Rare Blue Music, Inc./Monster Island Music/Red Admiral Music Inc., performed by Blondie, courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.
“So What,” by Ian Jack, © 1980 Sheljac Music (BMI), performed by Naughty Sweeties, courtesy of Dauntless Records
“Poems, Prayers And Promises,” by Randall R. Evans, performed by Jack Evans and the Country Bumpkins, © 1978 Heartline Music
+
SONGS
“Union City Blue,” by Deborah Harry and Nigel Harrison, © 1979 Rare Blue Music, Inc./Monster Island Music/Red Admiral Music Inc., performed by Blondie, courtesy of Chrysalis Records, Inc.
“So What,” by Ian Jack, © 1980 Sheljac Music (BMI), performed by Naughty Sweeties, courtesy of Dauntless Records
“Poems, Prayers And Promises,” by Randall R. Evans, performed by Jack Evans and the Country Bumpkins, © 1978 Heartline Music
“Lonely Little Angel,” by Jack Lenord Evans, performed by Jack Evans and the Country Bumpkins, © 1978 Heartline Music
“Deck The Halls,” courtesy of Blue River Music, Inc. (BMI).
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 April 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 24 April 1981
Production Date:
began 3 March 1980
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Company
Copyright Date:
30 June 1981
Copyright Number:
PA106608
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo™
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26153
SYNOPSIS

Jon Lansdale, a successful comic strip artist, lives with his wife, Anne, and daughter, Lizzie, in rural Vermont. Anne, however, wants to rent an apartment in New York City so she can reevaluate their marriage and pursue her interest in yoga at the Origin Institute. They argue while driving on a rural road and, as Anne tries to pass a slow-moving truck, a car in the opposite lane forces her to swerve; Jon’s right hand is severed by the truck. Jon is rushed to the hospital, and the police search the nearby field, but do not find the appendage. Later, at the hospital, Jon’s stump heals, but he still feels his hand is attached, and the doctor admits Jon will have a phantom limb for years. At home, Anne reveals she has rented a New York City loft for the family. Jon retreats to his art studio and attempts painting with his left hand, but has little success. The next day, he returns to the scene of the accident and the severed hand crawls through the field, watching as Jon finds his gold signet ring in the field. Later, Jon dines with his agent, Karen Wagner, and reveals he has been offered a teaching position in Northern California, but she insists that his publisher wants to continue with Jon’s comic strip despite his injury. Karen suggests that Jon write the action while a young artist named David Maddow serves as illustrator. Later, in New York City, Jon watches Anne’s yoga class at the Origin Institute and observes the instructor, Bill Richman, flirting with her. Meanwhile, Jon’s severed hand ... +


Jon Lansdale, a successful comic strip artist, lives with his wife, Anne, and daughter, Lizzie, in rural Vermont. Anne, however, wants to rent an apartment in New York City so she can reevaluate their marriage and pursue her interest in yoga at the Origin Institute. They argue while driving on a rural road and, as Anne tries to pass a slow-moving truck, a car in the opposite lane forces her to swerve; Jon’s right hand is severed by the truck. Jon is rushed to the hospital, and the police search the nearby field, but do not find the appendage. Later, at the hospital, Jon’s stump heals, but he still feels his hand is attached, and the doctor admits Jon will have a phantom limb for years. At home, Anne reveals she has rented a New York City loft for the family. Jon retreats to his art studio and attempts painting with his left hand, but has little success. The next day, he returns to the scene of the accident and the severed hand crawls through the field, watching as Jon finds his gold signet ring in the field. Later, Jon dines with his agent, Karen Wagner, and reveals he has been offered a teaching position in Northern California, but she insists that his publisher wants to continue with Jon’s comic strip despite his injury. Karen suggests that Jon write the action while a young artist named David Maddow serves as illustrator. Later, in New York City, Jon watches Anne’s yoga class at the Origin Institute and observes the instructor, Bill Richman, flirting with her. Meanwhile, Jon’s severed hand crawls through the Vermont field. At their apartment, Jon discovers his signet ring is missing from its box and believes Lizzie took it, although she denies the accusation. That night, Jon dreams that his severed hand entered their apartment and took the signet ring. Soon, Jon is fitted for a powerful metal prosthetic hand, covered with a black glove. When Karen sends David Maddow’s artwork for Jon’s review, he is infuriated that David changed his story. At Karen’s office, Jon returns David’s storyboards, claiming the artist weakened his lead character, but David insists he updated Jon’s story and Karen agrees. When she opens David’s portfolio, Karen is shocked to find the artwork destroyed and believes Jon is the perpetrator. When Jon leaves, he encounters an intoxicated homeless man, also missing a hand. As Jon walks away, the drunk staggers into an alley and is strangled to death by Jon’s disembodied hand. Jon returns home and discovers his wife with Bill, her yoga teacher. Jon asks his daughter if she destroyed David’s drawings, but Lizzie denies it. Later, the hand scurries under a radiator as Jon informs Anne that he accepted the teaching position in California. At Saraville college in rural Northern California, psychology professor Brian Ferguson drives Jon to a rustic home provided by the university, and Jon starts teaching art classes. He telephones his family and promises to find a better residence when they arrive, but Anne wants a short-term separation and is remaining in New York City until Christmas. That night, Jon is awakened by water dripping in the bathroom. He adjusts the knob and, upon returning to bed, finds the signet ring on his pillow. In the classroom, Jon returns his students’ graded sketchbooks and, later, student Stella Roche arrives at his home, thinking he might want to keep her portfolio. She offers to have sex with him and Jon accepts. After Stella leaves, Jon flips through her drawings and, among her rudimentary sketches, he finds a detailed drawing of a woman being raped by an oversized hand. At a local bar, Jon confides to Brian that he has blackouts and the psychology professor suggests he is suffering trauma from his accident. Jon believes that he drew the picture in Stella’s sketchbook with his left hand, but does not remember doing so. Brian warns that blackouts are dangerous; he could murder someone and never remember it. Jon continues to date Stella and, while decorating for Christmas, she asks about his family’s pending visit and claims she is visiting friends in Los Angeles, California, over the holiday break. Jon presents her with a gift of sexy lingerie and she leaves it under the tree, promising to return after work. At a local bar, Brian tells Jon about his Christmas plans to go to Los Angeles with his new girl friend, and reveals that his lover is Stella. Later, Stella arrives at Jon’s seemingly empty home. While waiting for Jon to return, she retrieves her lingerie and is attacked by the severed hand. Meanwhile, Jon drives to Reno, Nevada, upset at Stella’s betrayal. There, he checks into a motel and continues to drink. The next day, Anne and Lizzie arrive for their Christmas visit. Jon belatedly remembers Stella’s present and rushes to the Christmas tree, but the package is not there. Moments later, Anne finds the gift, now addressed to her, on her bed. That night, Jon reads Anne’s mail, discovers she has not unpacked her suitcase, and accuses her of planning to meet Bill in San Francisco, California. She admits the Origin Institute is expanding to San Francisco and she will work there, with her lover, Bill. Furious, Jon declares that Anne cannot take Lizzie from him. The next day, Jon and Anne unsuccessfully conceal their tension as Lizzie opens her Christmas presents. Anne plans to buy groceries, but cannot start the car. As Jon helps her, she wonders at the vehicle’s awful smell and Jon sees the hand crawl across the backseat. While Anne is gone, Jon has visions of the hand attacking her and the car crashing. He is surprised when she returns, unscathed. At the local bar, Jon sees Brian, who drunkenly admits that Stella never arrived for their trip. Brian asks if Jon had sex with Stella, but Jon denies it and leaves. Moments later, Brian stops Jon’s car on a rural road and confronts him. Jon admits to a relationship with Stella, but claims he was upset about her plans with Brian. He reports that he drove to Reno to get drunk. Brian thinks Jon had a blackout and declares he is going to the police, but when Brian returns to his truck, he is murdered by the hand. At home, Jon argues with Anne, and, after he leaves her bedroom, the hand crawls into Anne’s bed and attacks her. Hearing his wife’s screams, Jon returns to the bedroom and sees the hand jump out the window. Lizzie thinks Jon is attacking the unconscious Anne, but he insists he is saving her and orders Lizzie to call the police. Jon chases the hand to the garage where he fights with his severed limb until the appendage strangles Jon. When he regains consciousness, policemen and Lizzie stand over him while Anne is wheeled away by paramedics. The police are suspicious of the strange odor emanating from Jon’s car, and open the trunk to discover the dead bodies of Stella and Brian. Later, in the laboratory of his doctress, Jon is monitored by computers. She encourages him to realize “the hand” represents his rage, and Jon remembers beating Anne. Encouraged that her experiments are successful, the doctress unstraps Jon’s right hand. Jon’s brain scans register strong activity and he tells doctress that the hand hates her. Although she insists the hand is a figment of Jon’s imagination, the appendage appears and kills her as Jon laughs and frees his other hand. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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