Mad Love (1935)

67 or 69-70 mins | Horror | 12 July 1935

Director:

Karl Freund

Cinematographers:

Gregg Toland, Chester Lyons

Editor:

Hugh Wynn

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Corp.
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HISTORY

Mad Love marked Peter Lorre's American screen debut, and was Karl Freund's first and only directorial effort for M-G-M. The film was presented with the following written disclaimer: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feels that it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We are about to unfold a story which we consider one of the strangest tales ever told. We think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject yourselves to such a strain, now is your chance to--well, we've warned you..." HR pre-production news items initially announced that Claude Rains and Virginia Bruce were set to play the leads in this film. HR production charts and pre-release news item list actors Kay English, Mary Jo Matthews, Rolfe Sedan, Billy Dooley, Theodore Lorch, Leo White, Bernard Siegel, Mike Cantwell and Monte Vandegrift in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to studio production records, working titles for this film were Les Mains d'Orlac , Hands of Orlac , The Oar of Orlac and Chamber of Horrors .
       The file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that between Apr and May 1935, M-G-M was warned to avoid producing a film that would be "too brutal or too shocking." After having read the script, the Hays Office objected to the showing of the railroad wreck in the picture, and attempted to dissuade the studio from ... More Less

Mad Love marked Peter Lorre's American screen debut, and was Karl Freund's first and only directorial effort for M-G-M. The film was presented with the following written disclaimer: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feels that it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We are about to unfold a story which we consider one of the strangest tales ever told. We think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject yourselves to such a strain, now is your chance to--well, we've warned you..." HR pre-production news items initially announced that Claude Rains and Virginia Bruce were set to play the leads in this film. HR production charts and pre-release news item list actors Kay English, Mary Jo Matthews, Rolfe Sedan, Billy Dooley, Theodore Lorch, Leo White, Bernard Siegel, Mike Cantwell and Monte Vandegrift in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. According to studio production records, working titles for this film were Les Mains d'Orlac , Hands of Orlac , The Oar of Orlac and Chamber of Horrors .
       The file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that between Apr and May 1935, M-G-M was warned to avoid producing a film that would be "too brutal or too shocking." After having read the script, the Hays Office objected to the showing of the railroad wreck in the picture, and attempted to dissuade the studio from showing scenes of the dead, injured and dying lying about the baggage room after the wreck. In addition, the Hays Office urged M-G-M not to show the professor fondling the wax figure in his boudoir, and to "cut down as much as possible the spraying of the perfume." Mad Love was rejected by censors in several foreign countries or passed with the elimination of scenes of torture, guillotining, and strangulation. A previous film based on the same source was the 1924 Austrian film Orlac Hände , directed by Robert Weine and starring Conrad Veidt and Alexandra Sorina, which was released in the United States as The Hands of Orlac . Another production based on the Maurice Renard novel was the 1964 French-British film entitled The Hands of Orlac , which starred Mel Ferrer and was directed by Edmond T. Greville (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.2030). Another film, the 1962 Hands of a Strangler , loosely based on Renard's novel, was written and directed by Newt Arnold and starred Paul Luthaker and Joan Harvey (see entry). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Jun 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Jul 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 35
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
29 Jun 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
25 May 35
p. 50.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Jul 35
pp. 74-75.
New York Times
5 Aug 35
p. 20.
Variety
7 Aug 35
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Adpt
Translated and adpt by
Contr to dial
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Les Mains d'Orlac by Maurice Renard (Paris, 1920).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Chamber of Horrors
The Hands of Orlac
The Oar of Orlac
Les Mains d'Orlac
Release Date:
12 July 1935
Production Date:
6 May 1935-early June 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Corp.
Copyright Date:
9 July 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5855
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
67 or 69-70
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1034
SYNOPSIS

Renowned Parisian surgeon Doctor Gogol is obsessed with the beautiful horror theater actress Yvonne Orlac. The doctor, who never misses a local guillotining, can always be found in the audience when Yvonne is on stage. Following Yvonne's final performance, in which she plays a tortured victim, the actress receives flowers from her biggest fan, Gogol, who later comes to her dressing room to introduce himself. When Gogol learns that Yvonne is planning to travel to England with her husband Stephen, a rising young pianist, he shows great distress at the news. In another part of the city, Rollo, an American circus knifethrower who killed his wife and knifed his father over the loss of a woman, is led to his guillotining. Gogol attends the execution, and when he returns home he receives a call from Yvonne, who tells him that her husband has been injured in a tragic train wreck and is in need of the best surgeon in Paris. Gogol, who is famous for his work in healing deformed children and mutilated soldiers, realizes while treating Stephen, that his hands are so badly damaged that they require amputation. The doctor quickly decides to perform an experiment on the injured pianist by removing the hands of the executed Rollo and sewing them on to the amputee. After procuring a medical release from the prefect, Gogol sends for the corpse and then successfully performs the operation. Unaware of the experiment performed on him, Stephen returns to Yvonne, who is surprised to discover that her husband can no longer play the piano as he did before the accident. When a bill collector pays ... +


Renowned Parisian surgeon Doctor Gogol is obsessed with the beautiful horror theater actress Yvonne Orlac. The doctor, who never misses a local guillotining, can always be found in the audience when Yvonne is on stage. Following Yvonne's final performance, in which she plays a tortured victim, the actress receives flowers from her biggest fan, Gogol, who later comes to her dressing room to introduce himself. When Gogol learns that Yvonne is planning to travel to England with her husband Stephen, a rising young pianist, he shows great distress at the news. In another part of the city, Rollo, an American circus knifethrower who killed his wife and knifed his father over the loss of a woman, is led to his guillotining. Gogol attends the execution, and when he returns home he receives a call from Yvonne, who tells him that her husband has been injured in a tragic train wreck and is in need of the best surgeon in Paris. Gogol, who is famous for his work in healing deformed children and mutilated soldiers, realizes while treating Stephen, that his hands are so badly damaged that they require amputation. The doctor quickly decides to perform an experiment on the injured pianist by removing the hands of the executed Rollo and sewing them on to the amputee. After procuring a medical release from the prefect, Gogol sends for the corpse and then successfully performs the operation. Unaware of the experiment performed on him, Stephen returns to Yvonne, who is surprised to discover that her husband can no longer play the piano as he did before the accident. When a bill collector pays the Orlacs a visit, Stephen becomes enraged with anger and, to everyone's amazement, hurls his penknife at him. Later, Stephen again loses control of his hands when his stepfather, Henry Orlac, refuses to give him money. Stephen throws a knife at him, but narrowly misses. Meanwhile, Gogol takes advantage of Yvonne's gratitude for his services by asking her to perform a private show for him. Stephen, troubled by his uncontrollable hands, seeks the opinion of Dr. Marbeau, who marvels at the recovery of hands that were once crushed seemingly beyond repair. After some thought, the doctor concludes that Stephen's hands must not be his own. Following Stephen's visit to Dr. Marbeau, newspaper headlines report that Stephen's stepfather has been found murdered. Gogol, who killed Henry himself, convinces Stephen that he killed his own stepfather by disguising himself as the decapitated and revived Rollo and then telling him that the murder was committed with the hands that were removed from his body. The frightened pianist is mesmerized by the disguised Gogol and finds proof that he killed his stepfather when he displays his mysterious knife-throwing skills. Following Stephen's arrest, Yvonne decides to investigate the elusive Gogol herself, and goes to his home, where she finds a statue of herself in his parlor. When Gogol returns home, he discovers Yvonne and begins to hear voices in his head telling him that "each man kills the thing he loves." The mad doctor then grabs Yvonne and begins to strangle her with her hair. Yvonne is rescued, however, when the police show up with her husband, who expertly throws a knife at the murderous Gogol and kills him. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.