The Writer with No Hands

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The Writer with No Hands
Writer with No Hands Poster Image.jpg
Directed by William Westaway
Starring Gary Devore
Claudia Christian
John Irvin
Haskell Wexler
Music by Andy Nunn, Ian Kellett
Running time 86 min
Country United Kingdom

The Writer with No Hands is a 2014 feature-length documentary film that follows a British academic as he attempts to prove a Hollywood screenwriter was assassinated over a controversial script he had just written about the CIA.[1] It premiered at Hot Docs film festival in April 2014 and is scheduled for festivals in New Jersey, Tacoma, and Dallas.


The Writer with No Hands is an independent film, born of academic Matthew Alford’s interest in the disappearance of Gary DeVore, stemming back to a feature he wrote for The Guardian newspaper in 2008.[2]

Andy Nunn, who played keys with Morcheeba, composed the score.

The filmmakers alleged several unusual production difficulties, in part owing to the project's sensitive subject matter. The film’s promotional website was anonymously accessed and deleted just after it went live. Interviewees and even some members of the skeleton production staff pulled out of the project at the last minute, citing safety concerns.[3]

Critical response[edit]

The Writer with No Hands played to a very good reception at Hot Docs but with some secondary criticisms. Consensus held that the mystery elements of the film were “compelling” and “intriguing” but the way the story is told was contentious. For instance, whilst Black Sheep thought that its unconventional approach made the film “as beguiling as the mystery it is trying to solve”, Dorkshelf called it a "sour" and "dubious" product "that borders on unethical despite being self-aware” [4] Cinestyle summarised: "I wouldn’t want to be Westaway’s friend (or enemy!)... If you are expecting an overly-dramatized murder investigation with monotone voice overs as witnesses describe facts, and an ominous sounding narrator slowly unfolds a story, then you will be sorely disappointed. This documentary is riveting".[5]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Review: Pretty Clever Films, 16th April 2014". Retrieved 2014-06-05. 
  2. ^ Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham (2008-11-14). "Body of Lies: The CIA's involvement with US film-making | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-05. 
  3. ^ Review: Synaesthesia Communications Journal, Summer 2014
  4. ^ Brown, Phil (2014-04-21). "Hot Docs 2014: The Writer with No Hands Review". Dork Shelf. Retrieved 2014-06-05. 
  5. ^ Review: Cinestyle: